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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D

 I am going to start off this review by saying something that I never thought I'd say. I actually liked this movie. You are probably thinking that I have seen so many bad films that my brain has imploded, rendering me easily amused.

 Chainsaw never had the ups and downs that one would expect from a horror franchise. There was only one up and that was followed by a number of increasingly bad sequels. TCM2 was not only a victim of extensive executive meddling but it was also silly and quite possibly the worst film Dennis Hopper ever made.

I stand corrected
 TCM3 was either a reboot or a sequel, I never could tell. It wasn't as bad as part 2 but it did not hold a candle to the awesomeness of the original. And like TCM2 it was also violated by executives who decided that a movie featuring a skin wearing serial killer was too gory and demanded cuts.

Then came TCM4 which starred  a couple of unknown actors named Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger. McConaughey reportedly tried to get this film squashed as to avoid embarrassment. From an actor who thought Failure to Launch was a good idea, that's saying a lot. It also inexplicably decided to turn out favorite redneck slasher into a whiny little drag queen.

  In the early 2000s, the franchise attempted a reboot with a couple of films that I found bland and not worth typing about here.

  Texas 3D picks up where the original left off. The local sheriff demands custody of Leatherface after the events in the original film. The family actually considers going along with it when a gaggle of rednecks led by the mayor attack the house. The only survivors are of course Leatherface and baby Heather whom one of the rednecks kidnap and raise as their own.

A couple of decades later, Heather learns that her grandmother has died leaving her a swanky little home in Texas. I have a lot of problems with this set up. First, why was the Sawyer clan living in such a dilapidated house in the middle when they obviously had money. Second, why did Granny wait 20 years or so to reclaim the granddaughter that stolen from her. Is there no punishment for her kidnappers who killed her own mother?

Heather along with her boyfriend and best friend decide to go check out the house and encounter a hitchhiker. Luckily this hitchhiker doesn't follow the TCM tradition of blowing his brains out. He does however convince these complete airheads to leave him alone in the house where he commences to robbing the place blind.

Fortunately for Heather that house has the best home security that money can't buy. That's right, good old Leatherface who has essentially been protected by Granny all these years. The films plods along and we get to see

Guy playing pool

Awkward attempt at a love triangle

And Leatherface battling a pig

   And of course all of this is in 3D!!! so expect things tossed at the camera at any given moment. These effects may have been cool in the theater but on DVD it's just kind of dumb. Heather eventually learns that the town was responsible for killing her family and eventually decides to protect Leatherface as her grandmother has done before.

For a sequel, this movie is actually pretty decent. The movie actually made me feel sorry for Leatherface in a way that I could never feel sorry for Jason or Freddy. They took a stone cold killer and humanized him without turning him into a good guy or explaining away his sins. 

 Alexandra Daddario who plays Heather is a great actress and a likable scream queen. She is tough but also vulnerable and you generally feel for this lost character who is just trying to find her place in the world. I also love Tania Raymonde who despite playing the obligatory oversexed friend still manages to put in a good performance. I have been a big fan of hers since her days on Lost and am always pleased to see her pop up in movies. 

The only quibble I have is with the dates of the film. It was established that the original TCM took place in the mid seventies and that the beginning of this films took place soon after. That would set the events of this movie in the mid-nineties based on Heather's age. This wouldn't have been an issue had a video phone not been a main part of a scene. In the mid-nineties cell phones looked like this 

Not included: VIDEO

 If you like the original TCM then definitely give this one a whirl. It's a respectful homage that despite having some dull pointless scenes is entertaining. Kudos to this movie for paying tribute to the film's predecessor by bringing back original actors, Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns, Bill Moesley, and John Dugan for cameos as members of the Sawyer family. 

Listen up re booters and classic horror film violators how about a little more of this and a little less this