The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4 (1994)
Director: Kim Henkel
Four high school teens (20 something adults) crash their car in the woods after leaving the prom and encounter a family of crazies who kill people for no apparent reason other than the influence of shady FBI agents and aliens?!? I thought this was a "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" flick…wrong! Someone dropped acid in the punch bowl.
Flatline. "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" as we know it is dead. Ironically the murderer is none other than the co-writer of the original, Kim Henkel who wrote and directed this candy coated thrash. God where do I begin…Let’s start with the dialogue. This is a stupid movie filled with stupid people and for some reason nobody acts like a real human being. A few examples: Sean (Harrison) sees Vilmer (McConaughey) snap a boys neck, runs away from him while Vilmer chases him in his truck…the dumb kid then stops running and in a calm fashion begins to chit chat with Vilmer, asking him to give him a break. What the f..k??? Or Barry (Cone) escaping a gun tauting madman, locking himself in HIS house and then asking the killer where the phone is at so he can call the cops. Maybe I didn’t get it…maybe scenes like that are supposed to be taken as high camp…Arrow just thought it was bad filmmaking. Henkel repeats many scenes from the original and puts new spins on them…too bad in this flick they have no purpose but to imitate. In the original, Leatherface puts that girl on a hook cause later on he’s gonna skin her and maybe nibble on her a bit.
In this one Heather (Newmyer) gets the hook in the back but why are the hooks even there? The family in this one are not cannibals, they’re motivation is to scare and kill people cause shady government agents (in contact with aliens) tell em too. All the characters make the dumbest moves: getting in the truck of an obviously angry stranger, not sticking together wandering the woods separately and I gotta to hand it to the teens in this movie, they’re really not impressed by dead bodies. The dialogue is extremely dumb, the direction of the story muddled but the final nail in this coffin is of course the interpretation of Leatherface. The attempt of Saw 3, to make him scary again is ruined in this sequel. Leatherface has become a sad looking, full blown, yelping transvestite, if you thought he was a pussy in part 2…well you haven’t seen anything yet. This is filmmaking at it’s lowest. It has no respect for the series or it’s themes and it’s reprisal of several key scenes from the original comes as an insult cause they’re in such a stinky movie. I only have three positives thing to say about this crud: There’s a semi fun rooftop stunt scene, Matthew McConaughey (Vilmer) and Renee Zellweger (Jenny)…that’s it. Let’s give this movie the last rites.
Non existent. But Vilmer’s remote control leg brace is kool and responsible for a few funny bits.
Renee Zellweger (Jenny) does what she can and we know as an audience that if she comes across as bad or dumb, it’s because the script is bad and dumb. Robert Jacks (Leatherface) has great lungs and does scream like a little girl but a real "Leatherface" he is not. Tonie Perensky (Darla) does good with her ambiguous part and holds her own against the talented McConaughey. Joe Stevens (W.E.) is credible but his book quoting character is a snore. Lisa Newmeyer (Heather) should have shown her breasts instead of her acting talent...her self proclaimed bitch character would then have been complete. Tyler Cone (Barry) should go back behind that McDonalds counter, selling Happy Meals. John Harrison (Sean) should never act again…it’s detrimental to filmgoers health. Matthew McConaughey (Vilmer) is the life of the movie, without him in it, I would have fallen asleep. He gives an overblown, grandiose, all over the place performance. He has fun giving it and we have fun watching it.
To be fair to the actors I bash…keep in mind that a putrid script doesn’t help any performer.
T & A
Tonie Perensky (Darla) flashes her beautiful breasts and got my attention. She’s hot!
It’s hack night at the drive in. No suspense or tension. Visually the film is rarely interesting except for the occasional filters and a smoke machine that works like a charm. Copying scenes from the original might make some think the director is witty, I think he’s just weak. I will say that he does have a better handle on comedy than Tobe Hooper, the scene when Darla hits Jenny with a stick is very funny.
Some bad rock, decent blues and at least one country song.
I’m sure Henkel’s intentions were good but this movie does everything wrong. Are we suppose to believe Renee Zellweger is ugly? All the characters keep on telling her she’s a dog…come on! Why was that intro with her abusive father even there? They did nothing with it. Why did they have grandpa (who’s now younger) come back, they did nothing with him…feed the poor bastard already…he hasn’t eaten since part 2!!! Is this flick even set in Texas? It looks more like some suburbs. Henkel should have respected the previous films and kept the family a cannibal one. That whole alien subplot is the worst idea since the man in black entered the "Halloween" series. And what he does to Leatherface is unforgivable.
The only reason to see this flick is to watch a crazed Matthew McConaughey ham it up, a few funny bits or to witness paper thin characters, bad acting, worse filmmaking and the reduction of a once feared mass butcher to a prissy, pathetic, cross dresser. I will admit that the flick is somewhat fun if you laugh at it but in my book, The Saw as we know it is dead. RIP.
The movie was made in 1994 but released in 1997 (because of McConaughey’s rising fame).
At first it was called: Return Of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and it ran 105 minutes. When it was released under "The Next Generation" title it ran 95 minutes…lots of cuts.
Matthew McConaughey pushed his agent to convince Kim Henkel and Robert Kuhn (co-producer) to not distribute the film in theatres.
Watch for 3 cameos at the end of this flick: Marilyn Burns (Sally in original) is the patient Renee stares at. Paul Partain (Franklin) is the guy pushing the hospital bed. John Dugan (grandpa) plays the cop asking Renee the questions.