Texas Chainsaw 3D
Directed by John Luessenhop
Written by Debra Sullivan, Adam Marcus
Starring: Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Tremaine Neverson, Tania Raymonde, Bill Moseley, Paul Rae
Rated R | 92 Minutes
Release Date: January 4th, 2013
Directed by John Luessenhop (Takers), Texas Chainsaw 3D feels like the kind of slasher sequel New Line Cinema would have released in the ’90s.
Reminiscent of movies like Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday and Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, Texas Chainsaw 3D is a derivative, low-budget horror flick that digs up a mass grave of dead horses and beats them senseless with all matter of hammers, meat hooks, and chainsaws.
After 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake and its 2006 prequel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Platinum Dunes decided to abandon the franchise. Twisted Pictures and Lionsgate picked up the rights to the series subsequently, and planned a direct sequel to Tobe Hooper’s original 1974 film – even though there are already three sequels to that film.
And I do mean ‘direct’ sequel – Texas Chainsaw 3D picks up minutes after the original, with police responding to a call from the pickup truck driver who rescued Sally Hardesty. Enraged and slightly drunk, the townspeople of Newt, Texas form a mob, burn down the old Sawyer homestead, and kill the family – even poor ol’ hammer-wielding grandpa. As one red-blooded redneck so elegantly puts it, “Eye for an eye, Sheriff. You can’t get around the Good Book!”
While the townspeople are scouring the burnt-to-a-crisp remains, a man discovers a baby girl that survived the massacre – the last of the Sawyers (or so they think). She’s kidnapped/adopted by a redneck family and raised as Heather Miller – with no knowledge of her real family and their murderous ways.
Fast-forward to the present, where the baby is played by 26-year-old Alexandra Daddario and surrounded by slutty, repugnant college kids. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre takes place in the ’70s. Texas Chainsaw 3D uses footage from Hooper’s film to establish the story – showing the fashion, cars, and the culture of the ’70s. So, one can assume this new movie must take place about 20-25 years after the first film, which would place the sequel in mid-to-late-nineties.
At first glance, Texas Chainsaw 3D appears to be a period piece. But then, suddenly, it’s revealed that it’s 2012. I know what you’re saying: “Wait a second, the baby was born in the ’70s… so if this sequel takes place in 2012, then she should be 38 years old!” Daddario’s character is clearly a gorgeous, midriff-baring twentysomething – but this movie doesn’t care about that – or about the original film at all it seems.
It’s like the screenplay began as a period piece and then the writers realized it was going to be a lot of work and just gave up. It’s revealed that it’s present day when a sheriff pulls out an iPhone and uses it to FaceTime with his deputy, who gets hacked and slashed by Leatherface. If they wanted to make this a period piece, they could have simply had the deputy deliver dialogue over his two-way radio but Hell, that’d make too much sense I guess.
It’s pretty obvious the only reason this movie exists is because Twisted Pictures and Lionsgate purchased the series and had to put something into development to retain the rights to further exploit Leatherface and his people-eating pals. It’s rushed, messy, and just plain dumb; it doesn’t even live up to direct-to-video standards. As least those ’90s New Line Cinema sequels could be guilty pleasures – this movie isn’t even laughably bad, it’s just half-assed and ill-conceived.
If you’re going to make a bad horror movie, at least give the audience something to enjoy: full frontal nudity, a high death count, some inspired depravity – but Texas Chainsaw 3D has none of these things. Instead, the filmmakers rely on computer-animated blood and gore and a few rubber masks to thrill us.
At one point, Leatherface kills a guy, cuts his face off (ok, that was cool) but moments later, the flesh looks rubberized and aged like leather, not the fresh bloody mess it should be. In 40 years (or is that 20 years?) you’d think Leatherface would be better at making masks – instead they look like wet tree bark plastered to his face. A fifth grader could have crafted something out of papier-mÃ¢chÃ© more frightening.
Of course the film’s payoff is that Heather eventually discovers who she really is and what the townsfolk of Newt, Texas did to her family. It’s a jumble of ideas you’ve seen in other slashers: the whole town is hiding a terrible secret ala A Nightmare on Elm Street, a girl who shares the blood of a psycho-killer (Halloween 4, Halloween 5), and the Friday the 13th staple of youths engaging in drugs and premarital sex and being punished for it.
As someone who unapologetically enjoys Hooper’s 1986 black comedy sequel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and Platinum Dunes’ re-imagining of the story, I can safely say this is one of the worst entries in the seven-film franchise. Generic, unoriginal, and lacking any tension or suspense, Texas Chainsaw 3D is unworthy of your time and money – a painfully dumb film that illuminates further just how incredible Drew Goddard’s Cabin in the Woods is and how these kinds of halfhearted, dimwitted horror flicks just won’t cut it anymore.
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