January 4, 2013 by Vinnie Leduc
A decade ago, producer Michael Bay introduced the iconic Leatherface to a new generation for the third time via The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the second remake of 1974’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The titles keep getting shorter as this year’s remake, Texas Chainsaw, drops the last word altogether while adding the 3D aspect for a more immersive experience. You’d have a better experience with either of the two previous massacres.
The opening act, which continues directly from the original (and only overall well-reviewed) Leatherface bloodbath, is a strong start to the seventh movie of the slasher franchise. Texas Chainsaw is a retcon that ignores every other non-original film in the series, and as it plants its family affair seeds for the rest of the film, I gotta say it’s pretty cool to see the end of a ’70s movie extended significantly all while embracing today’s exploding 3D format. It’s just too bad that the 3D the rest of the way is subpar with only a couple shots that clearly tried to take advantage of the medium.
It all goes downhill from the charged start as Texas Chainsaw mostly devolves into the same old clichés that have haunted every one of its successors. Hot-bodied and horny teens/college kids somehow find their way into some Texas trouble, deal with questionable locals who seem to know more than they let on, don’t help themselves out by repeatedly making maddeningly stupid decisions, and you already know (most of) the rest of the story.
What you don’t know and may not see coming is how it ends. The new direction that Texas Chainsaw takes in the third act is bold and could be fascinating, and it’s kind of a twist that could potentially invigorate the series, but it came at the heavy price of depleting any scariness that was left in Leatherface, who had already been considerably UNscary for most of the movie. I’m not going to spoil anything more than that, but I do applaud the effort that the franchise made here. A for potential, B for effort, but C for execution, D for skimping on the T&A, and F for thrills.
Texas Chainsaw, a reboot disguised as a sequel and wearing the mask of 3D, is about as good as director John Luessenhop’s last movie (Takers), which wasn’t good at all. The deaths are either unceremonious and unspectacular or merely recycled from the franchise’s predecessors, and you’ll find yourself laughing more often than screaming, if at all. Don’t waste your time with this trip to Texas, but if you do, you might as well stay for the post-credits extra scene. Texas Chainsaw gets 1.5 out of 5 stars.