ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4 (1994)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Kim Henkel

Starring:
Renee Zellweger/Jenny
Matthew McConaughey/Vilmer
Robert Jacks/Leatherface
Tonie Perensky/Darla
4 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
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.
THE LOWDOWN
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.
GORE
Non existent. But Vilmer’s remote control leg brace is kool and responsible for a few funny bits.
ACTING
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!
DIRECTING
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.
SOUNDTRACK
Some bad rock, decent blues and at least one country song.
DVD FEATURES
BOTTOM LINE
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.
BULL'S EYE
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.
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12:47AM on 10/04/2006

Eh...

I don't think I hate this movie as much as most other people. It's not a good movie, but I thought it was entertaining. Matthew McConaughey chews the scenery and it's fun to watch, plus Renee Zellweger is a cutie, and she leaves with her dignity. I thought parts of the movie were well done, like the chase scenes with Leatherface, which were intense, as well as Vilmer's leg, which was fucking sweet. I thought the movie was pretty funny too, I laughed out loud more than once.
However it has
I don't think I hate this movie as much as most other people. It's not a good movie, but I thought it was entertaining. Matthew McConaughey chews the scenery and it's fun to watch, plus Renee Zellweger is a cutie, and she leaves with her dignity. I thought parts of the movie were well done, like the chase scenes with Leatherface, which were intense, as well as Vilmer's leg, which was fucking sweet. I thought the movie was pretty funny too, I laughed out loud more than once.
However it has so many problems. For one, most of the characters are dumber than bricks. For instance, a guy escapes a maniac with a shotgun by retreating into a house. Instead of trying to find his lost girlfriend and get the hell out, he decides to find the can and take a piss, and he's awful nonchalant about it too. Also the suspense and intensity don't reach the level's they could have. I'm mainly thinking of the drive-thru sequence and the camper/tow-truck chase scene. If Kim Henkel were a decent director, he could have pulled them off, instead he doesn't seem to know how to do it. Also, I thought Leatherface's pussy-factor in TCM 2 was funny, here it's just annoying and pathetic. I don't want to see Leatherface in drag, and I don't want to see him crying and screaming like a girl all the time. The scary bad guy here was not Leatherface, it was Matt McConaughey's character, Vilmer. His character was a lot of fun.
It's not a good movie, but when the day was over I wasn't asking for my money back. I would be a liar if I said I wasn't entertained, I just wish it had a decent director behind the camera, and someone to remind him that maybe putting Leatherface in drag is a stupid idea.
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