Aside from the original film in the long running Texas Chainsaw Massacre series, I do not understand the reasoning behind why this franchise is still appealing. Absolutely none of the wide range of sequels/reboots (you can read my review of the 2003 remake here) have been remotely watchable as far as I’m concerned, and each one is worse than the one that came before it. So here we are in 2013 with the release of Texas Chainsaw 3D. Does it break the trend of ass suckage?
Young twentysomething Heather (Alexandra Daddario) learns that she was adopted after she inherits a house that belonged to her birth family in Texas. Along with a group of friends she decides to check the place out only to discover that it’s still inhabited by her one remaining relative - the murderous Leatherface (Dan Yeager).
I will fully admit, seeing that this was a direct sequel to the original 1974 film really piqued my interest. Retconning the entire franchise was a fine idea and the opening scenes, while obviously using different actors to recreate the classic roles, were pulled of quite well.
Unfortunately that’s where I stop complimenting this film and move straight to how ridiculously dumb and stupid it is. The time gap between the original and this sequel is 39 years, therefore the orphaned Sawyer baby that is adopted at the top of the flick should be pushing 40 when the story moves ahead to the present day. When the movie starts she is in her mid-twenties, so for a while I was assuming the movie took place between 1997-1999. That is until you start seeing all the modern day cars and one character whip out his iPhone to film his exploration of the Sawyer home. I mean, really? Is it that hard to keep some kind of continuity between films? Basically the filmmakers are saying that the original took place around 1988. Eat a bag of dicks, Texas Chainsaw 3D.
The acting is absolutely horrible. Alexandra Daddario (Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief) is basically just there to be eye candy. She looks hot and sexy for the whole movie, even when she’s all banged up and bruised, and does nothing but stare creepily into the distance with her freakishly bright blue peepers. Sure she can scream and all that, but I just didn’t buy her in the part, and I definitely didn’t believe her character’s stupefying twist in the finale. All of her castmates aren’t really characters at all, just bags of blood waiting to be slashed open to spill their contents in gruesome ways. No one is developed in the slightest, therefore I didn’t give a shit when they were predictably killed.
The only actor I liked was Dan Yeager as Leatherface, aka Jedidiah Sawyer. He has no lines and mostly moans and hollers, but he has what made the character so effective in the original film - presence. Just like Gunnar Hansen, he makes his character unpredictably crazy and frightening. Even though nothing that happens in this dreck was scary in the slightest, his Leatherface is like a force of nature. I’m not down with the whole anti-hero angle the filmmakers decided to go with toward the end, but whatevs.
Director John Luessenhop (Takers) is a hack, plain and simple. He might have a good eye for cool looking shots and knows his way around the horror genre, but he cannot direct actors to save his life and has no idea on how to properly build suspense. I’m sure his editors had to work overtime to make even the dialogue scenes come across as non-awkward. Sure the movie looks nice and moody, but that’s thanks to his cinematographer and lighting department. Long story short, this guy has no business making movies.
Why does a horror movie like this even need three screenwriters? Adam Marcus (the writer/director of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday), Debra Sullivan and Kirsten Elms all took a stab at the script (from a story idea by Marcus, Sullivan and Steven Susco) and not one came up with anything fresh or even remotely original. Everything is generic and cliché as par the course with most horror movies nowadays. I’m sure they thought their big twist in the finale would be mindblowing to the audience, but it ends up being the final nail in the coffin for this piss poor excuse for a movie. And what was up with that scene where Leatherface chases Heather through a county fair and no one seems to care that there’s a dude swinging a chainsaw around trying to kill a screaming girl? Just plain dumb.
Sure some of the gore is rad (loved that guy getting shredded in the factory), the appearance of Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns and Bill Moseley (alumni of other films in the series) is welcome and the idea of the townsfolk taking a stand against the Sawyer clan is a nice addition to the story, but there is nothing going on that I could say makes this even remotely watchable. This is a Cleveland Steamer that took a road trip to Shreveport and festered in the hot sun.