[BD Review] Jonny Gives His Take On ‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series is, like any other big horror franchise, riddled with its fair share of really bad entries. I don’t care what anyone says, TCM 3 and TCM: A New Beginning are awful. You can’t convince me otherwise. TCM 2 is charming and entertaining in its own way and while I’m not a huge fan of the remake it took the original concept and did its own thing, which I can admire.

But now we’ve entered Texas Chainsaw 3D, the first time a TCM movie has billed itself as a “direct sequel”, one that takes the story and events of the first film and expands upon the story. And what you end up with is a fun, if somewhat ridiculous, film that has some very interesting moments.

Warning: There are some spoilers in this review, so be warned.

The film opens up with, what I think, is a fantastic opening credits sequence. Clips from the original TCM have been used to give a very quick update on the story thus so far. Once we see original survivor Sally Hardesty escape, the film truly begins with police coming up to the Sawyer/Drayton house, demanding Jed (Leatherface). What could have been a peaceful handoff is disrupted by a local posse showing up and opening fire upon the house, killing everyone except for Leatherface and, ultimately, a little baby girl. Long story short, the baby is taken (have fun with the ridiculous dialogue during this scene) and that baby grows up to be the heroine of our film, Heather Miller (Alexandra Daddario).

By now you probably know the story, but here’s a very quick summary: Heather Miller finds out that she is adopted when her recently deceased grandmother (whom she has never heard of nor met) bequeaths to her the Sawyer Estate. Heather, along with a few friends and a (pointless and could’ve been rewritten as a 5th friend) drifter, go to Texas to see the estate. Leatherface gets out and, well, so begins the killing.

So let me get some of the technical aspects out of the way real quick. The 3D wasn’t actually all that bad. Instead of a ton of “in your face” moments, the 3D was more immersive. Yes, there are a few parts that are specifically meant for the 3D to get a chance to brag, but they are placed in good moments and are effectively utilized.

A complaint I had was that the movie was a bit dark at points. Not the kind of dark where “I think I see something but I’m not sure if it’s there,” but rather the “What is this? FearDotCom?” kind of dark. Also, the music of the film was rather uninspiring. If I were asked to hum even three notes of any of the cues or be shot, there’d be a big hole in my head right about now.

One of the more annoying aspects of the film was the camera’s constant need to hover right around the derrieres of Daddario and co-star Tania Raymonde. Look filmmakers, I know they’re sexy and very attractive but I don’t need their asses shoved in my face every chance you get.

Also, there was a complete lack of character development for Keram Malicki-Sánchez’s Kenny and Tremaine Neverson’s Ryan, who is the boyfriend of Miller. Oh, sorry. Ryan is explained to have slept once with Tania Raymonde and this means that, of course, they’ll sleep together again. Because, you know, once a guy cheats, he’s gonna cheat again without a second thought. Ugh…

A glaring error in the film is the timeframe. The original film took place in 1974. This film takes place in late 2012. Using a little bit of math, Heather should be 38 years old. Trust me when I say that she is NOT 38. So, in an effort to ignore this little detail, the year of the opening scene slaughter is never revealed. In fact, great pains are taken to ensure that we, the viewer, are never given that information. For all we know, it could’ve taken place in 1997. The year is blacked out in crime scene photos. The grave of Heather’s mother has wild grass perfectly placed over the year of death. It’s not something major but it’s one of those little details that made me want to look at the screen and say, “Really? You really think I’m that stupid?”

However, something that this entry did that none of the other entries have done is turn Leatherface into something of an anti-hero. For the first time, Leatherface is not simply a villain. Instead, he becomes someone that we actively cheer for.

I didn’t really know what I was expecting going into the film. I knew that I wanted to see bodies chopped up with a chainsaw and, for that, I wasn’t disappointed. When it comes to the story, there were some needless twists and turns that could’ve been written a bit more solidly had someone simply thought for two seconds. But, in the end, I found myself having a good time. It’s a great popcorn flick that has gore aplenty and several laugh out loud moments that make it a great way to pass 90 minutes.

  • divisionbell

    I have to disagree. The 3rd was the better sequel and the remake is the best of the franchise.

    • dangerzone79

      Best of the franchise? Come on man. It’s FOR SURE up there, but are you saying it tops ’74?

      • ImPetrified

        Yes. Yes it does, lol.

        • http://www.facebook.com/buffyangel808 Ethan Steers

          I agree. I think the original is good, but it doesn’t hold up that well. That is why the remake succeeded because it was a movie we didn’t know we needed. They are both equal I feel and classics for different reasons.

          • EvilHead1981

            I disagree. I don’t think the reboot is in any way, shape, or form a “classic”.

          • Primeus

            The original TCM is a crap movie. The Remake is no classic but it’s legions better then the original.

  • Jhanse3 (Jhanse29)

    I agree. It’s a pretty good flick but could have really been elevated with just a few minor changes. Like you.said the hitchiker, the dumb cop exploring the house scene, a little better character development with the main cast. I thought the same thing about the 3D.

  • Justin1214

    I really liked the movie too, it’s more of a guilty pleasure kind of movie! You should put your review up on Rotten Tomatoes(Flixster) to help the film out a little more…it’s getting bashed on by a lot of critics!

  • Full_Effect_Ed

    The original film took place on August 18, 1973

  • anthonyd1

    I completely agree with this review

  • EvilHead1981

    I totally agree with this review. I think, given the obvious flaws, it could’ve been something better had they caught it on time.

    The whole “original movie” thing as far as the timeframe always wierded me out with this because I’ve noted elsewhere, parts of THIS movie looks like it WANTS to take place in the early 90s. Heather and Nikki’s hair have that 90s look to them. One of the songs that plays when we are introduced to Ryan is a New Jack Swing-styled rap. They drive around in an old looking van, and most of the cars seen are, for the most part, older looking cars(given a few new ones). It’s kinda like it had an identity crisis, not knowing if it wanted to be set in the 90s or now. I do think they initially wanted to set it in the 90s, but the executive assholes that always ruin good things stepped in and said, “Throw in some modern things, like cellphones, modern music and stuff to appeal to kids too young to know what the 90s are or we won’t let you finish this movie!!”.

    I think Heather was probably one of the most likable horror heroines/final girls in a long while. She didn’t come off as a bitch or obnoxious(like many modern final girls tend to be). Ryan WAS underdeveloped(probably had the least personality of the whole bunch). I think Kenny was more likable(and at least had somewhat a personality), even though he was killed so early we never got much of him either. Nikki was the resident slut who, other than being hot and heavy for her best friend’s man, was nothing more than that other than being an idiot. I mean, she’s the type in horror movies when someone says, “Shhh, be quiet!”, when danger looms, she’s the one to start freaking out and won’t shut the fuck up!

  • anezka

    Agree with the review and I add that I think it was a great film to start 2013. I hope it’s not gonna be in the best films of the year, because it will mean all the others are worse than this one, but it was definitely entertaining.

  • ImPetrified

    You hear that guys?! Leatherface has depth and character this time! I can see it now….He saws someone’s head clean off….then kneels. He mumbles through his mask of human skin….”Alas poor hitchhiker, I knew ye’ about 15 minutes!”

  • ThunderDragoon

    I completely agree with your review. I really liked the movie and thought it brought something new to the table. It’s sure as hell better than any of the sequels that came after the original movie. It’s the 3rd best TCM in the franchise; coming after the original and the remake. Oh, and the scene after the credits was hilarious.

  • WalkWithMeInDarkness

    I, too, agree with this review, as well as some of the comments, like that post-credits scene being hilarious and that this movie was a fun way to kick off the new year. As everyone has already said, there are quite a few things to criticize in the movie, but overall, it was exactly what I expected and I didn’t feel ripped off when I left the theater. I was entertained.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrissergi Chris Sergi

    i actually hated this movie so much for the first time I was actually angry at how bad and corny the writing was…

  • ScarymovieGoer

    I agree with the review. It was nothing more than dumb fun, and that’s all it needed to be. It could have been better, yes, but it tried to do something different. And i respect that.

  • Primeus

    This movie was complete shit, and we are going to continue to get this level of shit because your modern day horror fans have zero taste, and will eat up anything with gore.

    This movie is so bad on so many levels. I have to question the brain capacity of those that could possibly enjoy something so stupid, and pisses in the mouth of loyal horror movie goers.

    So sick of the shit the movie industry tries to pass off as legitimate horror these days. It’s the fans fault for setting standards so low.

    • djblack1313

      tough shit Primeus. your ego is so out of whack it’s really quite funny. you didn’t like the movie? that’s perfectly fine. i can respect that. did your folks really do that THAT bad a job in raising you that you can’t respect other people’s likes/dislikes as well? Jesus fucking Christ. the world DOES NOT revolve around you. your tastes aren’t necessarily what’s acceptable/”good”. deal with it.