Review: Texas Chainsaw 3D
PLOT: When a young woman finds that she was adopted upon hearing of the death of her blood grandmother, she heads out to Texas with friends in tow to find out what she has inherited. Besides the realization that she now has a large estate, she also discovers that she has a bloody family history and a secret in which her new home has been hiding.
Warning: Minor Spoilers Ahead
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is one of my favorite genre films ever made. It is a maddeningly chilling tale which presents a horrible fate put upon five young people. While the original 1974 film directed by Tobe Hooper was presented in a documentary, ultra-realistic style with shades of ridiculousness, the many sequels continued the trend towards the bizarre. However, with the remake in 2003 and the prequel in 2006, they put a little more style and darkness into this demented family while still sticking with the more grounded approach. And now we have TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D.
Somewhere between the ridiculous of the 1986 sequel starring Dennis Hopper and the gritty realism of the original lie the latest in this horror series, which for me was generally a good thing. The story continues after the events that took place in the 1974 classic, playing more as a direct sequel without dealing with the baggage of what came in between. In fact, the opening sequence here is a wonderfully wicked shoot out reminiscent of THE DEVIL’S REJECTS with good old Leatherface thrown in. To make things even better, the opening credits feature a number of quick cuts from the original film… all in gruesome 3D...
Then of course we delve into what appears to be a typical horror film, almost too similar to every other version of The Sawyer Family adventures. It begins with an arty Goth chick named Heather (Alexandra Daddario) and her boyfriend Ryan (R & B artist Trey Songz). It seems Heather – who was adopted – has inherited some property in Texas. So in typical genre form, she goes on a road trip with Ryan, two friends and a hitchhiker (Scott Eastwood, Tania Raymonde and Shaun Sipos) and they make a quick stop to check out her brand new property, which comes with a pretty deadly secret hidden away. And that secret happens to be what we were all waiting for, and that would be Leatherface. Dan Yeager does the chainsaw wielding psycho justice.
One issue I had with CHAINSAW 3D is the characters – or the fodder as it were. Ms. Daddario as Heather is likable but of course most of her friends are just plain selfish idiots. It is hard to really root for anybody here because they are both too self-involved and deceitful, and a few other side characters are utterly moronic. In one sequence, common sense is nowhere to be found when it comes to a law officer checking out the Sawyer mansion and following a trail of blood. This is the type of scene that will collect a ton of groans and laughs from the audience, albeit the filmmakers are clearly going for this type of reaction. There is no way in hell that this should be taken seriously. It’s too bad the suspense starts to wear thin and we are left with one of the most asinine characters in one of the most idiotic moments in horror movie history.
Director John Luessenhop handles the material well enough creating a few exciting bits and pieces. It even makes sense that these characters are so irritating due to a sort of obvious twist that you’ll quickly figure out, especially if you’ve watched the trailer. Truth be told, I enjoyed taking the ride along with the lovely Ms. Daddario who is a perfectly satisfying scream queen. She makes a fun little transition as the film progresses, which is enjoyable to watch, even if it is beyond any honest to goodness logic. The film straddles the line between the original and its gritty crime horror tale and the over-the-top “family” that takes pleasure in the slaughter of young, early twenty-somethings.
As a fan of the franchise – yes, even the bad ones – there is an absolute visceral sense of amusement watching TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D. The 3D works well enough and it offers a couple of intense moments. As far as gore goes the film offers a few groovy kills, with one poor fellow getting sawed in half. However, this flick is strictly for fans of the original series and may even disappoint those who prefer the 2003 stylistic remake and the subsequent prequel. With some fantastic cameos from William Butler, Gunnar Hansen as well as a few more thanks to the footage from the first film, a little nostalgia goes a long way and this CHAINSAW was able to entertain. However, this latest chapter cannot quite grasp the cerebral horror that Tobe Hooper unleashed, no matter how hard it tries. Is this a great film? Not even close! How about an enjoyable entry in a decent horror series? I reckon it is!
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