[BD Review] ‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’ Is Batsh*t Dumb But Kind Of Fun

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If “dumb fun” can still be considered harmless – because sometimes it feels like we’re fighting for the very survival of cinema and all that – then that’s exactly how I’d peg Texas Chainsaw 3D. It’s not what most people would call a “good movie”, I’m not sure I can even call it that. But I do know that it engaged me, entertained me and made me laugh more than at least 60% of the horror movies I saw last year.

The film, from director John Luessenhop, is a direct sequel to the original 1974 film. There’s been a lot of talk about how this new version maintains the hard tone of that film, eschewing the campiness of the 1986 Tobe Hooper directed sequel. This isn’t exactly true. While it does indeed pick things up just a few hours moments after the ending of the original TCM, it quickly dives headfirst into a broad, bizarre terrain with seemingly no concern for the hyper-realism that shocked audiences almost 40 years ago. While the 1986 sequel was overtly, intentionally and brilliantly absurd, Texas Chainsaw 3D embodies a tonal realm familiar to anyone with an affinity for 70′s grindhouse trailers. Which is to say that engenders an appreciation that’s not quite ironic, but close enough.

No one in this movie is written, or behaves like, a human being. Our protagonist, Heather, is introduced as an infant during the opening raid on the Sawyer compound. In the film’s first severe break with reality, that infant is stolen in the middle of a mass slaughter by a hick who decides kicking a mother to death in order to complete his impromptu adoption falls appropriately under the banner of vigilante justice. We flash forward 20 years to the present day (which should be 1994 but is somehow 2012*) and Heather, played by Alexandra Daddario, is now a young woman. She also works as a butcher and likes to make collages out of chicken bones in her spare time. I suppose it’s here that Texas Chainsaw 3D throws its hat in the “nature vs. nurture” ring.

As you can see, we’re already well outside the aesthetic of the original film. It’s not what we were promised but, then again, it’s not exactly boring. Soon enough Heather discovers she was adopted and has inherited a vast estate in Newt, Texas. She and her friends hit the road, pick up a hitchhiker and head out on a mission to investigate. Once inside the house it doesn’t take long before the carnage starts. None of it is particularly scary, but it sort of flies by in a manner that I’d call “acceptable.” There’s a huge missed opportunity in the film’s carnival scene, which is only about a minute long, but that makes more room for Texas Chainsaw 3D to reveal its master plan. It’s here that the film takes the familial “blood is thicker than water” homily and runs to some truly bizarre (and morally murky) places with it.

If you weren’t a horror fan you wouldn’t be reading this review. While I might recommend that the public at large avoid this film, I have to admit I had a decent time with it and I think you will too provided you’re ok with the following checklist: 1. It’s not scary (the original remake trumps it in that regard). 2. It doesn’t really feel like a Texas Chainsaw movie. 3. It’s really dumb. 4. I read the comments and know a lot of you are looking forward to the carnival scene – don’t. That is not the reason to go.

Think long and hard. If you’re cool with those four points, then you’ll be okay with Texas Chainsaw 3D. And, selfishly, I want this movie to be a hit because there’s no end to the perverse joy I would take in the batsh*t sequel they seem to be setting up.

*I have no idea why this is. Perhaps to make room a FaceTime gag that’s the basis for the film’s best scene?

Official Score

  • Deus_Mali

    I agree with everything you said. Just dont go in expecting this great, scary, original horror movie and i guarantee you will be entertained. (Even if only at some of the stupidity of the characters and plot.)

    • Matthew Pearce

      “I agree with everything you said. Just dont go in expecting this great, scary, original horror movie and i guarantee you will be entertained. (Even if only at some of the stupidity of the characters and plot.)”

      The thing is I would love to go into the cinema expecting a great, scary and original horror movie, sadly it just never seems to happen. I haven’t seen the film yet and will reserve a complete judgment until I do, but I’m kinda expecting the same disappointment that other modern horror remakes, reboots, sequels have given me. The main problem I see with most of these films is the complete lack of context and understanding of cultural and political issues that the originals had, which made them quite special. Tobe Hooper billed the film as “based on a true story” as I response to the misinformation spread by governments on current issues at the time ie Watergate, Vietnam War massacres. This gave the film great context behind the mayhem and made the hyper-realistic nature so effective and scary, remember the first film had very little gore. Now I’m not saying that every horror has to framed in this kind of political and social reference (dumb gory horror has its place and is fun) but it would be nice to go into the cinema and see a horror that has that kind off weight to it again.

  • italianzombie

    so, after hyping this movie up for months you give it a very mediocre review – so typical of this site.

    • WalkingDeadGuy

      Let me get this straight, you’re upset because they covered this film well before its release and and gave it an honest and unbiased review? lol

      Now I haven’t seen the film (I’m watching it tomorrow), but I would never be upset at someones slightly negative review all because they had the audacity to have high hopes before they watched it. That’s about the silliest thing I have heard. I think we’ve all been there, happens to me every time I hear about a new Rob Zombie movie (Excited…let down. Excited….let down. etc.).

      • K-Dogg

        Well said Walking Dead Guy !!! Well said.

        • WalkingDeadGuy

          Thanks K-Dogg, I just can’t understand that guys logic that they’re not supposed to give a movie a bad review because they reported on it leading up to its release. Very, very weird.

      • ImPetrified

        The review made me laugh, but what’s funnier is you actually still want to go see it. A mystifying testament to horror fanboy worship. The producers knew this was a piece of crap, so they released it in January, where they knew they could count on you, WalkingDeadGuy, to help them break even.

        • WalkingDeadGuy

          Lol, yes I saw it and no I didn’t love it. The movie was stupid but fun. I do agree with the review, but I wanted to make up my own mind by actually watching it.

          My only point was that it’s stupid to give this website grief on its bad review because they covered it prior to its release. A good horror website should cover a films progress, even if they think it’ll be bad. No one really knows until they watch the film for themselves.

    • diapers

      It is BD’s job to give us info about the films as they are being made. It is also their job to review ‘em. They also covered Wrong Turn V with a set visit, and then (rightly so) vilified it in the reviews. I don’t BD promised anyone this remake would be super-awesome. So chill.

  • italianzombie

    for the record, the original film sucks donkey cum, and DERANGED is a far better film hands down.

    • divisionbell

      Agreed. Original is pretty awful. The remake was the best in the series.

      • ImPetrified

        You know I’m glad someone had the courage to come out and say it. I saw the original and really only the door slamming scene and the ending were scary or interesting. The remake was waaay more engaging, and I think it’s an underrated film. The sound of the chainsaw actually made me shiver at one point.

        • Kelsy Teague

          He hasn’t got courage. He’s just a teenager trying to start an argument. One of the Classic types of TCM troll.

    • Grendal28

      Were you alive when the Hooper’s TCM came out? Or is this the biased opinion of a twenty-something kid that was exposed to computer generated garbage before he had the chance to appreciate the hard work and creativity that goes into PRACTICAL effects? The original TCM was a masterpiece in it’s own rite…from a “horror” view point. Hooper was able to do things in that film that were never allowed in theater released films. It’s still one of the most disturbing films ever made…and the fact that they portrayed it as a “true story”…still gives me chills.

      • italianzombie

        um, yes- I am in my early 40′s and prob walking before you were born – the original TCM is the single most boring overhyped crapfest to EVER come out of the 70′s – people only like it because they have been brainwashed into thinking they must like it by all these so called “scholars” who demand you like it. Deal with it – it is a classic example of how not to make a good film.

        • atl4life

          I’d agree. I’m in my late-40′s and the original is probably the most over-hyped dreck in horror film history.

          I can remember seeing this in the 70′s and then seeing movies like Last House on the Left that were so much better. TCM the original was simply bad. Maybe it was better than “The Town That Dreaded Sundown” but that’s about it.

          • turnbot9000

            I can’t believe I’m reading so many supposed adults crapping all over one of the acknowledged masterpieces of horror cinema on a horror movie website like this!!! You people are quite frankly some of the dumbest people alive if you hate the original TCM. It doesn’t have to be everyone’s favorite movie, but there’s no way anyone above 25 or with the attention span longer than a music video could hate the original. The remake is the best?!!!! Stupid beyond belief. Horror is scary when it’s raw and personal and not this slick, produced by a committee of accountants, blue-green looking SAW knockoffs. And then to say that TCM is boring but Deranged is the great movie. You know why most people don’t talk about Deranged? Because it’s boring and not scary! LHOTL is just mean spirited. You haters figuratively have my jaw on the floor with your nonsense. No wonder only crappy remakes, sequels and ripoffs get made these days if this is what today’s generation of fans is like. I will NOT give this crappy film my money.

        • italianzombie

          you’re an angry wee man aren’t you ? People like you make me laugh – you cry like a baby because not everyone likes that shit film that you only think you like – what a tool.

        • Murray Wilson

          You foul mouthed creep. Anyone who has to talk in your language must not have even graduated. And for your information the original TCM was a classic. Deal with it and try to get your GED someday.

      • italianzombie

        so, you have been made to look silly twice – do something useful and fuck right off.

        • turnbot9000

          So Italianzombie-moron-boy, there’s no way a 40 year MAN would sit around in his own feces like you do trolling the internet to say stupid things about classic movies unless he was a 40 year old virgin who lives in his mother’s basement. No one has to love the original and people can like whatever other movies they, but until looking at your moronic comments I’ve NEVER in my life heard anyone say that the original “sucks”. People can disagree about its status and which movies are better, but to hear horror fans on a horror website trash what is universally considered a classic of the genre (I know it’s a big word, look it up) is both sad and pathetic. I do know a lot of people under 25 who think that any movie without CGI or an edit every 20 seconds is boring. But those people are young and dumb and have had their attention spans destroyed by the internet. So why doesn’t italianzombie do something useful and save up your allowance money and go to your nearest truckstop and lose your virginity to a lot lizard so you have something better to do than clog up message boards with your “wit”?

          • italianzombie

            deal with it maggot – it sucks.

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

    I’m not a fan of the original because I don’t think it holds up well. That’s why I think these new ones always entertain. They aren’t really coming from somewhere of extreme quality. I appreciate the original, but it isn’t well made in my opinion. I always thought the concept was dumb fun so now I’m excited that this one keeps with the trend.

  • TwistedCritic

    I’m glad to hear it’s got some campiness to it, because that’s what I’d expect in a movie called Texas Chainsaw 3D.

  • Primeus

    The original Chainsaw is a craptastic movie, and a horribad franchise. The two remakes are the best thing about the franchise. I am going to go see this tonight, and I can’t believe I will enjoy it any less then the orignal. The entire concept of the TCM is dumb…

    Sorry but TCM is no Halloween, Carrie, or The Shining..

    • italianzombie

      here here – well said. The truth hurts some muppets. Tobe Hooper is a piece of shit director, and Gunnar Hansen is a horrid actor – any idiot could do that role.

  • Skull-And-Crossbones

    im about to go see this in like 10 minutes. the TCM movies i’ve seen were the original, original sequal, remake, and prequal. i thought the original was ok, i thought the sequal was dumb, loved the remake, loved the prequal even more. one of the things that kills the original for me is the very end when leatherface is dancing around with a chainsaw. i though leatherface was supposed to be this big, bad, scary son of a bitch running around with a chainsaw killing people. that part made it hard for me to take him seriously.

    • Grendal28

      Leatherface was NEVER supposed to be “this big, bad, scary son of a bitch” running around with a chainsaw, killing people. Leatherface was supposed to be this big, DUMB, scary son of a bitch running around with a chainsaw, killing people that got a little too close for comfort to his family. He was a moron…he didn’t know right from wrong! He just knew to do what his brother and pa told him to do, or he’d get a whoopin’!

      • Skull-And-Crossbones

        yeah i realized that when i was watching the new one today and kept thinking how wrong i was on my post. i guess since leatherface is always compare to michael myers and jason, the fact that he doesn’t talk, where’s a “mask”, and how he was portrayed in the remake and the prequal, gave me the impressions that he was supposed to be a crazy killing machine. which is weird because i saw the original before i saw any of the others but it was so long ago i guess i forgot most of it.

        • Skull-And-Crossbones

          wears*

        • Grendal28

          Yeah, the remakes have really scarred Hooper’s vision of Leatherface. I was excited to see that Hooper and Hansen had their hands in this new one….haven’t seen it yet, so I won’t jump to conclusions.

  • Grendal28

    Regardless…good, bad, campy, ridiculous…this movie will pay for itself at least! Devoted horror fans will go out to see it because we’re drawn to it by the mere thought of it being a TCM film. And who doesn’t want to see Leatherface swing a chainsaw in 3D?!

  • GrimDingo

    Considering TCM 3 is my favorite, I think I’ll enjoy this new one just fine. Sounds like it’ll be pretty stupid, but I like stupid as long as I can sit through it and laugh. Next Generation though…that runs the line too hard.

  • violentdope

    1.its not scary 2.doesn’t feel like TCM movie. 3.its dumb 4.im not giving them my $$$ for a shitty movie…ill wait for the dvd…and im a huge horror fan but this looks this shit

    • Mark

      Because they don’t make any money when you buy the DVD…

  • FrenchFryGuy

    Yep, no surprise. Pretty much knew this was it’s fate based on the trailer and the dumb lead characters.

    This is why I keep championing the likes of a Scream 5, Friday the 13th Part 11 Halloween 9 etc. because they can’t be any worse then these lifeless reboots with no soul or passion of the originals, so i’d rather just continue on the originals instead.

  • WalkWithMeInDarkness

    After suffering through shit like House at the end of the street, Chernobyl Diaries, Paranormal Activity 4 and The Apparition, I’m not ashamed to say i had fun with this movie. I went in expecting nothing more than a generic slasher and that’s what I got. And although it has quite a few things to bash, i can’t lie, i enjoyed it more than the remakes of Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween. (And DEFINITELY Zombie’s H2)

  • Skull-And-Crossbones

    i completely agree with the “official score” – 5/10. it is a mediocre movie. it could’ve been much much better then it was.

  • Autoflower

    I loved this movie. It had me smiling from the start. It seems people want the same thing over again or their not happy. Leatherface was the same as 1974. At times it even felt like I was watching the old leatherface. If you like the remakes you should not watch this nor be on this site. It just seemed what people expected is stupid, and if you think you can do better than this movie, then by all means. I give this movie 8/10 only because my soda was too fucking expensive

    • Leon-McFly

      Thank you for not picking this movie apart like everyone else. I’m scrolling to the bottom of this forum to put in my two cents, and so far, you’ve had the only stand out opinion i’ve seen

  • Autoflower

    One more thing. Stop calling it a fucking remake. It’s a fucking Sequel.

  • Canucklehead

    The original TCM was as shocking as Psycho was in 1960 or Dracula in 1931. That does not alter the fact that these were cutting edge art for their time and not rebooted or remade with little of the style or substance that made the originals classics. Horror fans would be much better off if Hollywood and the creative folks behind these abominations tried to create original projects that we could discuss 30 years from now however that seems unlikely given the current environment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jerryjason Jerry Jason

    I’m 31 years old…I have forever cherished the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its sequels. I didn’t think it was possible, but Texas Chainsaw 3D makes Texas Chainsaw 4: The Next Generation look like cinematic brilliance. That sequel was made in 1994, precisely what should be the time frame of Texas Chainsaw 3D given it takes place in 2012. This is an OFFENSIVE piece of garbage that is lazy, unfocused and painfully embarrassing to watch. There is not one solid performance in the entire picture, the lead actress should have stayed away from acting all together because she can’t do it, and Leatherface as usual has nothing else to do but run around with his chainsaw. The movie has a rigid almost “blink and you’ll miss it” narrative that includes killing our main characters off before the movie even gets going. What’s left is a stitched together patchwork of scenes with no real substance. Can you tell this movie had 3 or more writers working on it? It sounds like they forgot to meet with each other to make sure they were all still working on the same script. Or at least on the same page. All this hype…this hype that I bought into because I honestly believed the promises of Director john luessenhop who clearly has no understanding of the genre or its predecessors’ for that matter. I feel like nobody working on this movie really gave a shit. The acting is so bad, the dialogue so contrived and forced. Nothing works here. This is a dark day for me. I never thought I would live to see the day I actually HATE a Chainsaw movie. Today is that day. This is that movie.

  • Kwonkicker

    Seriously people? The original is trash? The remakes better? I swear you would think a bunch of horny barely pubescent 20 somethings are leaving these comments. I’m no horror snob, but to say the remakes superior is unbelievable.

    As for this, THIS WAS TREMENDOUSLY BETTER THAN THOSE GOD AWFUL SEQUELS TO THE ORIGINAL. Does it have its flaws? YES IT DOES. But it’s tremendous fun, I was salivating non-stop as the carnage began. Dude, this movie while suffering from some serious inconsistencies and horror clichés and tropes is nonetheless a fun ride.

  • thedvdmonster

    this movie was a rotten mess of a joke.
    i have been hyping this since the second i saw the poster/
    it starts so well with some nice footage of the original in 3D then you see it kick off with police cars racing to the scene of the crime, but within 10 seconds of the cop getting out of his car you just think WHY? WHAT ? WHO ?
    all effort is lost instantly when yhou see who is in the house and that they have sweet FA to do with any of the original family.
    why didn’t the film makers just simply have them in there even if they cgi’d their faces or had lookalikes in there?
    you didnt need gunnar and co, you could have used them later on in the film just for cameos ffs.
    every decision every character makes even after they find out leatherface is still alive is just beyond dumb.
    Seriously, if you were a cop pointing a gun at a mass murderer would you just turn your back or pump him full of bullets?
    watching this made me so angry with the director and the writers, they turned an interesting theory into a mess.
    what was the scar bullsh1t? why not just have her wear the pendant anyway?

    • huntermc

      Funny how an S-shaped scar on a baby has remained exactly the same as she grew to an adult.

  • Leon-McFly

    Alright, what in the hell is wrong with you people. If you all are horror fans, then there must be different species or clans of it, because I’ve been a horror fan since I figured out how to watch them without being caught by my mother when I was six. So that’s twenty years of blood, guts, gore, suspense, being caught off guard, tits, vulgar language and very fucked up images. Hundreds of these movies I’ve seen, many of them dozens of times, so I’m pretty familiar with them. I’d say I know when I’ve seen a good one. There are some good ones, some bad ones, and some epic ones, but I’m not looking for an Academy Award winning film, I’m looking for entertainment. This particular genre isn’t supposed to be pulled apart and bashed for every little flaw in the directing, writing and acting, it’s supposed to be fun and force you to say, “Oh shit!”. The new Texas Chainsaw movie did just that. I jumped, I yelped once, I laughed, I cheered and I said “Oh shit!”. Simply, I was entertained, which is what I want in a MOVIE. This isn’t something that is supposed to change our lives. That being said, I left the theater saying “Wish I could have seen some tits, but other than that, I’m happy”. This horror fan is happy. Pull the sticks out of your asses and have a nice day!

  • dparker

    The reason so many of the “younger generation” don’t ‘get’ this movie (or The Exorcist, for that matter) is they watch movies on their f***ing I-Pads! If you don’t see classics like these on a big-screen (or at least a large TV, which most of these haters can’t afford) then you are missing the point. That’s why drivel like “Iron Man” is so appealing: it looks so great on a 2-inch screen!!

  • legolasgarett

    I will put my foot out an say TC 3D a damn good movie. It’s fun, entertaining and has some awesome kills. Its fast and pacy. Therefore it puts too much too quickly on you, yet has suspense and pretty good Final Girl. I lovbed it. Don’t miss this one.

  • DaveB2

    I found it fun , albeit kinda weak flimsy seeming in spots , and the van trying to escape scene was really stupidish. But “they” tried…I love the family punchline , so to say towards the end of the movies conclusion. And felt parts of the end were kind of Tales from the cryptish in an ok monster movie way. Of course they could have made it better. But i also found some fun in it fer sure. (: