The original ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ is a classic of the genre. It might not be pretty now but, at the time, it was a shocking piece of work that horrified people and solidified a place for itself in horror history.
The 2000’s saw the franchise attempt to reboot with a remake and a prequel.
A different production company has taken over and is scrapping everything: the garbage from the past ten years, the sequels from the ’80s and ’90s.
This somewhat fresh start is called ‘Texas Chainsaw’
Right after the original (the REAL original) ends, there is a massive shootout culminating in a fire at the Sawyer house in Texas. After all, they harbored Jed (AKA Leatherface), a homicidal freak. There are presumed to be no survivors except for a tiny baby who is taken in by two townsfolk.
This baby is Heather (Alexandra Daddario) who grows up and receives a letter from her lone relative who has just passed away. Heather has inherited her estate and all assets. She goes on a roadtrip with her friends to explore.
Upon her arrival, it becomes clear that the town is odd and hiding a secret. More evidence mounts when her friends begin to get butchered by a hulking, face-wearing monster.
I wonder who that is…
He still does horrible things to innocent people, but Leatherface is treated with a lot of sympathy this time around. Nothing kills an established villain more than explaining him ad nauseum, justifying his actions and presenting a character more evil than him. You kill the concept of this being a horror and turn it into pandering by creating an anti-hero. If it isn’t natural for a character, don’t force it, filmmakers!
One scene has Leatherface chasing Heather through a crowded carnival. It is too short of a sequence and it is a wasted opportunity. The fellow carnival-goers don’t react appropriately to a massive, face-wearing man wielding a chainsaw and chasing a young woman.
If you’re keeping score, the original film/story happened forty years ago. That would make Heather about that age. Instead, we are given a photogenic twenty-something. No complaints from an aesthetic standpoint but it hurts some of the logic.
This was presented in 3-D for the theaters and those instances are obvious in 2-D on DVD. That was not necessary and all reports seemed to say that it looked awful. When will this trend die off?
The kids don’t have much personality, as usual. Daddario has something to work with as she is the ‘survivor’ type who actually matters a little bit. Rap fans might even recognize Trey Songz as one of the kids. A few surprises are present in some casting choices, but that only applies to long-time fans.
Special features include: nothing.
‘Texas Chainsaw’ is another crappy reheating of a tired franchise. It might be a marginal improvement on the two which preceded it, but it is answering questions that no one asked and is messing with history. At least it showed some initiative…
Rated R 92 minutes 2013