If you were going to put together a “Mount Rushmore of Horror” there are four names that should immediately jump out: Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and last but certainly not least… Leatherface. With that in mind, when I heard there was going to be a new installment of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, simply called Texas Chainsaw 3D, was coming to theaters I was super excited. When I found out it was going to be a direct sequel to the original I became even more jazzed.
SPOILER ALERT: If you’ve not seen this and you worry about knowing the plot stop reading. You’ve been warned.
Picking up right after the events of the original film, the Sawyer clan is holed up in their farmhouse when the locals come calling looking for revenge. A shootout ensues and the farmhouse is burned to the ground with the Sawyers inside save for a young woman holding a child. A local kills the woman and raises the small child as his own.
Fast forward to present day (ish) and Heather (Alexandria Daddario) is told that her grandmother has recently passed away and she needs to head to Texas to collect her inheritances. When she and her friends get there, they find that she’s now the proud owner of a mansion. What she doesn’t realize at the time is that her cousin Leatherface is alive and well in the basement, kept alive all this time by her recently deceased grandmother.
As horror movies often do, this devolves pretty quickly into carnage when Leatherface is let out of his basement and begins to slaughter the kids. Heather manages to escape and goes to the police, but they’re no help as they’re led by the mayor who happened to be one of the folks that burned the Sawyer clan to the ground in the opening of the film. Still holding a grudge against all things Sawyer, the mayor sets out to kill Leatherface and takes Heather to a slaughterhouse to do away with her as well.
Leatherface shows up at the slaughterhouse, but when he realizes that Heather is his cousin, he spares her life. The mayor and another local jump Leatherface and it appears that they’re finally going to be able to do away with him until Heather (rather inexplicably) teams up with her cousin allowing him to kill the mayor. She and Leatherface return to the mansion where she takes up the mantle as Sawyer matriarch and Leatherface returns to the basement waiting for the next sequel.
Honestly I’m not a big fan of 3D. I think it’s nothing more than a gimmick and rarely if ever adds anything to the film. Sadly this one doesn’t really change my mind. I paid $13 for this movie and I think it’s safe to say the best use of the 3D was in the opening credits. There’s 2 scenes in here that were obviously put in the film JUST for the 3D effect. First is when Heather is in a coffin and the chainsaw comes through and a few minutes later when Leatherface throws his chainsaw at the screen. If you can, see this one in 2d and save yourself a few bucks as these effects are definitely not worth the extra ticket price.
Alexandria Daddario is smokin hot as the lead Heather Miller. Her body is absolutely boomin here and she certainly shows it off… though sadly there’s no nudity in the whole flick. Isn’t there a rule written somewhere that there needs to be some nudity in crappy horror movies? If not… there should be. She’s definitely above average as far as female horror leads go. Dan Yeager plays Leatherface very admirably. Dude is BIG and has the limp and all the Leatherface moves down pat. There are a couple of scenes where he’s really “acting” and I have to say I rather enjoyed them. Tremaine “Trey Songz” Neverson is decent at best – and that may be a stretch. If he’s the big name they’ve got in this flick, he’s completely wasted when he’s killed in a car accident that’s not even gory. Tania Raymonde plays the slutty friend Nikki. You may know her from ABC’s Lost where she played Alex Rousseau. Her death is laugh out loud funny. The rest of the small cast does a decent enough job as while there’s no one that really stands out, there’s really nothing too terrible worth pointing out.
There’s some nice stuff here. Many of the same kills from the original flick with some nice additions. Let’s face it… watching Leatherface saw a guy in half is cool as hell. Nikki’s death a the hands of a trigger happy cop was hilarious, and watching Leatherface peel the skin of a dude’s face while still alive was creepy as hell. The CGI at the end where the mayor goes through the meat grinder was fucking terrible. I do have to say that I was happy with the couple of “gotcha” moments in the film but I wouldn’t call this a scary horror movie by any stretch.
I read that this film had originally received a NC-17 rating. Honestly… I’m not sure why. They must have cut an awful lot of gore out, because the finished film that I saw was barely above PG-13. With the exception of the dude getting sawed in half and the meat grinder at the end this one was pretty tame.
Horror movies as you to go on a journey with the characters. There’s a certain degree of suspension of disbelief… Unfortunately Texas Chainsaw 3D takes that premise a bit far in a couple of scenes.
There’s a scene about halfway through the movie where Heather is being chased through a town fair / carnival by Leatherface. I don’t know about you, but if I was at a fair and some dude was chasing a gal through I might stop and take notice. These folks are oblivious. Also, in the same scene, Heather’s big “escape move” is to grab onto a ferris wheel. Naturally, Leatherface just stays right where he is and waits for her to go around the wheel to return exactly where she started from. Also… isn’t this Texas? I’m guessing there were more handguns in that crowd than at a NRA convention. Someone would have taken a shot just cause they had a reason.
While that’s silly… I could almost let it be. Almost. What I had a real hard time with was the end of the film. I’m a big movie ending guy so this was pretty disappointing. By this point, Heather has learned that she’s “kin” with Leatherface and that they’re both Sawyers. Not sure what she would really care as two days prior she had no idea who the Sawyers were. Somehow, her character decides to take a leap that as an audience member I just couldn’t get behind… She actually begins to help Leatherface in his fight against the asshole townsfolk. She actually utters the line, “Do your thing cuz” while throwing him his chainsaw. Are you KIDDING ME?!?! Not only that, but at the climax of the film, she returns to the house where he recently butchered her friends and cleans him up and puts him back in the basement. I’m all for going on a story arch with a character, but this was a bit much even for me. Not only that, but I have a hard time when movies turn the villain into the hero. I mentioned this same thing in my recent Hannibal review, but when the audience is actually rooting for the killer, there’s something just not quite right.
Also, in the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Leatherface and family were cannibals. That fact has conveniently been dropped from this movie. It may be hinted at here and there, but it’s definitely not a focal point with this flick. I’m guessing this is because Leatherface (toward the end of the film at least) really isn’t the bad guy. In fact we’re supposed to be rooting for him. Spose it’s easier to root for a guy when we don’t remember that he’s eating people in the basement. This and the fact that the rest of the movie was so tame really makes me want to see the unedited cut. It’s GOT to be gorier, and I wonder if they cut out the cannibal plot to get the R rating?
I can’t say this is a great horror movie. I can’t even say it was one of the best of the Texas Chainsaw series. What I can say was that I had a good time watching it. With the exception of a couple of really big plot issues, this one moved along pretty quickly. The setup is rather quick and as soon as we get to Texas things really start to pick up. I love the fact that the filmmakers tried to make a direct sequel to the original and even though there’s nothing here we really haven’t seen before it’s done pretty well. Fans of the series will be happy to see a decent entry in the franchise and while gore hounds may be disappointed in the lack of blood and guts, horror fans have seen much worse and will probably get a kick out of this one. I’d say skip the 3D prices, go grab some popcorn and sit back and enjoy.
Have you seen Texas Chainsaw 3D? What’d you think?