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[BD Review] Brad’s Take On ‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’

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Leatherface has returned in a big way slashing his way to the top of the box office.

Lionsgate’s Texas Chainsaw 3D has raked in a whopping estimated $23 million proving that horror is king and that fans still want to see the Sawyer family in action.

Over the past few days we’ve been unveiling a slew of varied opinions, although Evan, Jonny and myself all seem to be in the same camp: we kinda liked it. You can read my take below, and watch this spot for news on a sequel in the next few months.

Spoiler Warning:

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is synonymous with hardcore horror. It’s a franchise that has never played it safe – it went for the jugular and hit you with a flurry of gut-punches. There is nothing “fun” about any of them (except Bill Moseley as Chop-top in the 1986 Tobe Hooper-directed sequel). This is the inherent problem with Texas Chainsaw 3D, Lionsgate’s quasi-sequel that picks up immediately after Hooper’s 1974 classic left off; not only is it not brutal, it’s not fun either.

Directed by John Luessenhop, the TC3D opening credits begin with an astoundingly cool montage of moments from TCM that bring viewers up to speed on the legendary original film and its iconic killer, Leatherface. It picks up immediately after Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) escapes on the back of that pickup truck; she sends the police to the Sawyer house where a shootout kills the entire family… except a baby. Flash forward to present day where this baby, Heather Miller (Alexandra Daddario) is now a super sexy teenager (even though it has been 38 years) who doesn’t wear a bra and inherits the Sawyer mansion from a lost relative. What she doesn’t know is that she also inherits Leatherface.

The premise is genuinely cool, as it will not only be interesting to newcomers, but also gain the praise of hardcore horror fans. It was obvious since the casting announcements that the goal of the producing team was to first and foremost make the fans happy, an urge that shows onscreen with some loving nods to the original. But where they fail is in getting everything tonally in sync. Right after Leatheface is introduced, a bulk of the second act is spent investigating the shooting that took place in the beginning of the film. While Heather digs through police files, the film’s editing team attempts to inject some life by cross-cutting footage of a cop slowly working his way through the Sawyer house. Because we know what’s down there waiting for him, it’s not scary. At all.

There’s also a bland an attempt to villainize the locals, which comes off a bit trite, and turning Leatherface into an antihero is about as ill-advised as when the Predator teams with a human in Alien vs. Predator. There’s nothing scary about an iconic killer when you are sympathizing with them. This unusual turn of events may have worked better had it happened during the second act, instead of ending on that note.

This all bleeds back into the issue of tone. TC3D isn’t scary or brutal. While there’s plenty of blood, guts and gore, none of it is gritty – nothing makes your stomach curl (for example: having teeth knocked out or nails ripped off). In turn, it’s also not very fun. None of the characters are unique nor interesting, other than obviously wanting desperately to see the girls naked – which, by the way, doesn’t fucking happen.

Even if TCM3D were tonally in tune, it wouldn’t be well received. And the fact that it is ultimately a run-of-the-mill slasher means it’s basically only going to connect with hardcore TCM fans, whom are the only people I recommend see the film.



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COMMENTS

6 Comments
  • Primeus

    Brad,

    I have to say your review has restored my faith in this website. I was really frustrated reading the two earlier reviews which I feel were far to favorable to this movie.

    As a die hard horror fan I really am sick of getting this type of crap. It’s like they make horror movies only for people under the age of 21 with zero taste.

    This movie was so bad on so many levels. For example I hated Halloween 2 remake, because i felt it betrayed the franchise but at least Rob Zombie had the balls to make a gritty, and shocking film on multiple levels. While I hated it, I can respect why some horror fans like it.

    On the flip side this TCM movie is terrible. I can’t understand why anyone would think a movie that spits in the face of it’s audience is “fun”.

    As I said in the other review I felt like I was watching a Saturday Night Live parody of TCM not an actual TCM movie. I also felt that compared to the previous two films this set the franchise way back.

    Why can’t we get films like The original Halloween, The Shining, The Exorcist ect.. Are there just no talented film makers in the film industry anymore?

    Do I just need to stop seeing horror because there are truly zero original ideas out there. I mean it’s sad the last horror movies that I was truly impressed with was House of The Devil and Trick or Treat, and that was a few years ago, and I have seen about 150 or more horror movies since those movies released.

    • dangerzone79

      I agree 100% with everything you said. I’m 33 years old and horror movies raised me. Halloween, The Shining, The Exorcist, TCM ’74, Elm Street… those movies can’t be made anymore for 1 reason. Money. Studios need to make movies they know kids will wanna see and adults will HAVE to see because we’re waiting for the next TCM ’74. This is an A.D.D. generation and they don’t have the patience for an Exorcist or Shining. Unfortunately those movie may be box office failures in this day & age, even though they’d be excellent movies. And, it IS hard to shack anyone anymore considering you can see a guy get his head cut off with a chainsaw online, or murdered by hammer. These are things you couldn’t actually see years ago. But, I will wait for the next great American horror movie as long as I am alive.

    • anezka

      I think there’s nothing wrong with directors and original ideas nowadays. What happens is that, when you remember of films from the 70s, you only remember the masterpieces. All the junk from that time has been forgotten, the same way all the junk from now is gonna be forgotten soon. Only the good or remarkable films are remembered long after being released. Then, it gives the sensation films then were better, when actually, you are comparing the best films from the decade with every single (good or bad) thing it’s released today.

  • huntermc

    I actually liked it, except for a few things (like the ending). *MANDATORY SPOILER ALERT* So Leatherface has killed the mayor, a cop, another local guy, a bunch of teenagers, and has been seen by hundreds of people at the carnival. And the Sheriff just lets him go back to hide in his basement? Nobody’s going to ask any questions? Not even the mayor’s son (another cop) who knew his dad was at the slaughterhouse?

    Also, after skinning the guys face off and making a fresh mask, the closeups of Leatherface just looked like a rubber halloween mask.

    Despite a few flaws, I thought it was overall pretty good, though.

  • Jasonicus

    It started very cool and then was nothing special. They touched on a lot of things that could have been great if expanded, then they didn’t. The characters were stereotypes and the ending was pretty dumb. No one in their right mind would let Leatherface just walk away. Silly.

  • Was it a good movie… not really…. Was it entertaining, yes!!
    I’m 34 and a huge horror fan…. Remember people, we don’t watch these movies with the idea that they will become oscar award winning films… lol… We watch them to be entertained…
    I love bad movies, and I love the characters from the original movie…. so needless to say I enjoyed it, despite all the flaws…. (definitely the most incompetent police officer of all time…lol)
    I actually enjoyed it more than the remake….

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