Skip to main content

Movie Review: Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)

Lionsgate
Runtime: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Rated: R (for strong grisly violence and language throughout)
Director: John Luessenhop
Writers: Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan
Starring: Alexandra Daddario, Tania Raymonde, Scott Eastwood
Horror | Thriller | Mystery

A girl travels to Texas to collect on an inheritance when just a day earlier she had no idea about it. She learns that a grandmother has just died that she didn't even know she had, which kinda makes mom and dad jerks for not telling her she was adopted all these years. With the edginess at home, we can practically feel the road trip to Texas coming on.

And the road trip is on. "Heather Miller" (Alexandra Daddario) and her boyfriend (Trey Songz) and best friend (Tania Raymonde) head to Newt, TX where some paperwork is signed. Mrs. Miller now owns a friggin mansion and other assets. But these assets come at a cost; namely, an encounter with a chainsaw-wielding killer.

With the town's dirty secret getting out and the city authorities not knowing how to handle the threat of a next-generation bloodbath, our story is a nasty one indeed. But let’s stop and consider that we live in a generation that looks back with envy on the 70s and 80s and uncreatively tries to cash-grab on the revamping of old greats. This couldn’t be truer than with horror sequels.

Texas Chainsaw 3D may not be a great (not even close!), but it does have a story that lends itself well to more than some cheap "teen sex slaughter" film. It is being billed as a direct sequel, bypassing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1990), a 1994 reboot, as well as a 2003 film and a 2006 film (none of which except the 2003 film are quite on level with this one).

There are some truly skin-crawling scenes and a respectable amount of the red stuff, but also some surprises to go with that allow us to view old Leatherface in a new light. But don't get your hopes up yet.

By way of stomach-turning intensity, this one about matches the 2003 film, although neither come near the 1974 classic in all of its psychotically displaced glory. The gruesomeness is respectable with several "defacing" scenes, including one where "Jed" (our new Leatherface, Dan Yeager) stitches a new skin mask through the insides of his mouth with disturbingly light grunts of pain.

But if anything, what nearly qualifies as painful are some of the performances, none of which are very good and many of which are definitely distracting (but not bad enough to kill, unlike our infamous villain). What is bad enough to kill is the film’s dialog that needed to be buried from the start without question.

Director John Luessenhop knew he wasn't going to rival the first film. It was enough that he just put his own spin on it, and in the process, add some dimension to the man at the center of the horror. I’m down with that, sorta. The result is a movie that falls somewhat below its goal of being a fright-inducer, but not all horror buffs or movie goodtimers will be so willing to write it off that quickly, especially with talent like Alexandra "Hall Pass" (2011) Daddario. She may not be ready for the A-list, but her piercing gaze and pliable charisma adds to this project. Her co-stars didn’t hurt things, either.

It’s not really all that unwelcome, even the hodgepodge-ly simplistic characterizations of a small Texas town. The package fits expectations. And if you don't have that high of expectations going in, Texas Chainsaw 3D may just surprise you, even as we are listening to "God will fuck you up if you don't obey him!" music when Heather and the group arrive in Texas.

As stated, there is a story here and when we can overlook the film's smattering of shortcomings and put ourselves in the headspace of our lead and ask ourselves: "What would we do?", we start to want to like it a bit more by the end. And it does possess at least a touch of what we remember the 1974 classic having as we watch a deranged man chase his victims to carve them up in the dying light of day.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When Jesus Turns Down the Glory: 10 Worst Ever Christian Songs

It’s a sad testimony when even the creator of a thing realizes that the product isn’t what it was intended to be. Well, actually it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t happen often enough. The Christian music industry is, shall we say, not up to par with where its admirers (and even creators and ardent well-wishers) would hope it would be. And when even the average believer realizes that their music is not market-cornering stuff, all should know that there is a problem.

Now not all Christian music sucks (you might even find a few rock songs from artists like Petra on Joe Holman’s ipod that he still sometimes listens to and enjoys), but what makes the stuff that does suck suck is that what sucks sucks for a number of different reasons. We begin the countdown going from best of the worst to absolute worst...

Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

When free spirit “Jules” (Anna “Go Girls” Hutchison) tells her best friend “Dana” (Kristen “Revolutionary Road” Connolly) what a good time they’ll be having at a cabin in the remote woods, you automatically know and are glad that she has no idea at all what awaits her or her friends, and neither does Jules’ jock boyfriend “Curt” (Chris “Thor” Hemsworth). The same is true of their intellectual friend with his notably piercing gaze, “Holden” (Jesse “Grey’s Anatomy” Williams) and their stoner friend “Marty” (Franz “The Village” Kranz) who seems to have a better grasp of reality, despite himself. Takes all kinds.

After taking off in the RV up the mountain, they stop for gas and run into a weirdly cryptic and confrontational gas station attendant (Tim De Zarn). When they’re back on the road after a near-fight, it isn’t long before they arrive and forget all about it. Following horror movie suit in letting out their whoas about how cool the place is and how much fun they will have losing t…

Movie Review: Django Unchained (2012)

At about 3 hours long, Django Unchained is Quentin Tarantino’s latest mental sickness-inspired adventure of a slave named “Django” (Jamie Foxx) who is freed by a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter, “Dr. King Schultz” (Christoph Waltz) who helps Django rescue his enslaved wife from a cruel plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio) in Mississippi.