Movie Review ~ Texas Chainsaw 3D

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The Facts:

Synopsis: A young woman travels to Texas to collect an inheritance; little does she know that an encounter with a chainsaw-wielding killer is part of the reward.

Stars: Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Tremaine ‘Trey Songz’ Neverson, Scott Eastwood, Tania Raymonde, Thom Barry, Paul Rae, Bill Moseley, Gunnar Hansen

Director: John Luessenhop

Rated: R

Running Length: 92 minutes

Trailer Review: Here

TMMM Score: (6/10)

Review:  It’s not that bad.  That’s what you came here to find out, right?  Well, my answer to you would be “It’s not that bad.” In fact, Texas Chainsaw 3D is a surprisingly enjoyable entry in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre franchise that has been kicking around Hollywood since the original was released in 1974.  While by no means a classic or a cut and dry new franchise starter, there’s enough in this pulpy but well produced film to keep horror aficionados entertained and audiences sufficiently satiated by a well balanced amount of blood and guts.

While I give a lot of credit to the low budget indie film that could which introduced Leatherface to the world in 1974, I still find the original The Texas Chain Saw Massacre to be tough to get through.  Yes, it’s the strikingly realistic feel that gives that film its particular, um, charm but there’ something about that particular movie that makes my stomach churn before the credits are done rolling.  Hearing that Texas Chainsaw 3D begins where the original ended, I attempted to go back and watch Tobe Hooper’s landmark feature again but just couldn’t make it through.  There’ something too on the nose about it and it remains one of the very few horror classics I just can’t watch again.

Nearly forty years after the original, we’ve been treated to two sequels, a remake, and a prequel but none have captured that same feel of terror and that’s largely true for this new film being released almost exclusively in 3D.  Texas Chainsaw 3D is surely the most expensive looking of the numerous sequels and seems to hit all the needed notes as it chugs through its 92 minute running time.  The acting is on par with a film of this nature with some dramatically over the top performances by the supporting players and a slightly sleepy showing by our lead lady.

Something you’re just going to have to get over is that the timeline the filmmakers have created makes absolutely no sense.  Fans know that the original takes place in 1974 so when the movie picks up 20 years later we assume it should be 1994, right?  Wrong.  Though it never clearly says when it’s taking place (and pulls a few clever cover-ups of dates along the way) it’s obvious this is a present day set film.  If you can move past that very large continuity error, you may find yourself really gelling with the story that works almost in spite of itself.

The scares are there, cheap as they are.  I jumped more than a few times and while I can jaw on about how it wasn’t a well-earned fright, I have to give the film credit for creating a slick mood.  Director Lussenhop helms his third feature with a relaxed old-school vibe and thankfully doesn’t beat us over the head (literally) with excessive gore and violence.  Don’t get me wrong…there’s enough blood in the film to fill a small pool but it’s largely nicely nasty fun that induces more chills than eye-rolls.

With her piercing eyes and porcelain skin, Daddario makes for a root-able heroine and though she takes a good half hour to warm up, she’s got a great scream to make it worthwhile.  Eastwood (son of Clint) shows up in a supporting role and proves that his dad didn’t pass along much acting talent to him…same goes for Neverson who is flat as can be.  Bad girl Raymonde has a Gina Gershon-esque quality to her and some familiar faces to genre fans pop up here and there.  Yeager makes the most out of his hulky role as Leatherface, even going so far as to imbue some sympathy for the big guy.

Did this film really have to be made?  Naw…it’s largely unremarkable though it is entertaining for the most part.  Showing a willingness to flesh out some of the mythology of the characters is a huge benefit, though the filmmakers may have gone a bit too far with a late in the movie shift in tone that may be hard to make future movies work with.  Overall…a decent effort.

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