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A Movie Review on Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)
Texas Chainsaw is a direct sequel to the 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre directed by Tobe Hooper, and ignores all subsequent films including the 2003 remake (which is my favorite), and the horrid Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. It follows Heather as she receives an inheritance from a long-lost grandmother, gaining possession of her home/mansion. Heather and 3 other friends take a road trip to Texas to sign papers and see the house. Little do they know that her cousin Jed aka Leatherface is still living inside. I was very iffy going into this film thinking that at times the trailer looks really great, but other times I felt it looked silly. I knew going into it that it probably wasn't going to be better than the original or its 2003 remake by Marcus Nispel, but was hoping for something decent. Texas Chainsaw, directed by John Luessenhop, is neither the worst Texas Chainsaw Massacre film (A New Generation takes that prize) nor the best one, but falls somewhere in between.
Lets cover the positives first. The blood and gore throughout the film is plentiful with skulls being caved in, bodies being cut up with a chainsaw, and even one being put through a meat grinder. The red flows graciously, but never seems to push the limits. Maybe I've just seen too many horror films and have become numb. Who knows. I felt that the way they portrayed Leatherface in this film was great. He is huge, and very menacing whenever he appears on screen, but is also given a very human side to himself that emerges more towards the end of the film. Dan Yeager who plays Leatherface in the film does a wonderful job giving him an older, more rundown way about it. Leatherface could never run very fast, but he seems to have lost a bit more speed now that he is much older. What he lost in speed, although he can still bring a hammer down on someone pretty damn fast, he definitely makes up with ferocity.
The story does stumble a bit throughout the film, but the writers took a chance telling this particular Leatherface story, and I for one would love to see what happens next. The opening sequence, which borrowed clips from the original TCM and then seamlessly transitioned to what happens moments after those events, was awesome. I could hear rumblings in the crowd from people who had probably never seen the original during the opening, and may not have know what was being shown. The ending is done well, and leaves the door open for another film. The overall movie is quiet entertaining, and hopefully if they decide to do another one its a sequel to this film, and not a remake/reboot/prequel.
Now the negatives. Aside from the four main actors and Leatherface, the acting throughout the film is atrocious. The mayor of the town is especially bad, and it really takes you out of the movie at times. The four main actors don't do such a bad job, but their characters are complete cliches. I was quite surprised that Trey Songz didn't do a horrible job in the role as I had expected. I think the atrocious acting can partially be blamed on the terrible dialogue that was written for these characters. Maybe the dialogue for some of these character is purposely written bad since a lot of it elicited laughs from myself and the crowd.
Aside from the acting there were a couple of big missteps that hurt the film, and if they were fixed would have made the movie much better. Be aware, spoilers are ahead. The character of Heather, played by Alexandra Daddario, is found and adopted/kidnapped following events from the beginning of the movie that immediately proceeds the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This places this event in the 1973-74 range. Cut to 2012 where the present events take place, and Heather should be 39-40 but is instead in her 20's. See the problem? Another problem is that there are plots that are introduced that are never recognized after. For Example Ryan, played by Trey Songz, cheats on Heather with her best friend, and then is attacked by Leatherface. They escape and meet up with Heather with Ryan wearing no shirt, and Heather's best friend wearing nothing but Ryan's shirt, but Heather never even acknowledges any of it. There is no pay off.
The carnival scene that is teased in the trailers and TV spots is a completely wasted scene that could have been amazing. The potential was there, but the execution was horrible. Leatherface is running through a crowded carnival with his chainsaw, chasing after Heather, and yet he doesn't kill, injure or even bump into a single damn person the entire time. It's ridiculous. Ever see Freddy vs. Jason when Jason shows up at the cornfield rave? It should have been something along those lines. But of course it's not. Sure it would have changed the way they handled the ending, but it would have been well worth it. Oh, and one last thing, the 3D is nothing to get excited over. It's all post converted.
Overall Texas Chainsaw is a very entertaining, yet very flawed film. It's not for everyone, but fans of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series should be able to find enjoyment out of it. The story, while not without its own problems, takes the series in a slightly different direction then what we are used to (something which I really enjoyed), and sets up the potential for a quality sequel. Horror fans and Chainsaw fans will enjoy it. Others probably not.
Directed by John Luessenhop
Starring Alexandria Daddario, Trey Songz, Dan Yeager, Scott Eastwood, Tania Raymonde, Keram Malicki-Sanchez, Thom Berry, and Paul Rae
Rated R. Runtime: 92 Minutes