Texas Chainsaw (2013)
Review by Jude Felton
Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre had sequels, in fact it had quite a few, and of varying quality it must be said. Then there was the remake, which itself spawned a prequel, a few years back. Now we have a new film, Texas Chainsaw, which is a direct sequel to the Hooper’s 1974 film. Confused? Don’t be, as this film does what the Halloween franchise did, and ignored the original sequels when it hit Halloween H20.
Texas Chainsaw starts off with a siege, a la The Devil’s Rejects, in which just about everyone connected with the first film dies. Of course, not everyone dies; one of which is plastered across the Blu-ray artwork, and without whom you would not have a Chainsaw flick, and the other grows up to be the quite lovely Heather Miller (played by Alexandra Daddario).
So, we get past the siege, and pretty cool opening montage of the original flick, and then skip forward to the present day, where Heather is a young lady in her 20’s. Hang on a second, just put a hold on your wee horses there, wasn’t The Texas Chainsaw Massacre set in 1973? Yes it was, because the events happened three days before I was born. So, how could Heather be in her 20s? Surely she should be in her late 30s? I know, it’s infuriating, but for the sake of this review I won’t dwell on that gaping plot hole anymore, because there are more.
Anyway, Heather finds out that she has inherited some property way down in Texas, so along with a group of mildly aggravating fodder, I mean friends, they make their way down there. Along the way they pick up a hitchhiker, because you can’t have too many potential victims, before arriving at their destination.
Upon arriving, Heather meets with the estate’s lawyer, who among other things tells her to read a letter that was left for her. Now, you know she won’t read it, just yet, which opens up the flood gates for plenty of carnage, as Leatherface pops up and proceeds to carve up anyone who gets in his way.
Aside from Heather’s story, there is also the plot that concerns the local townsfolk who thought they had put an end to the Sawyer’s butchering ways, but the main focus is Heather. This is absolutely fine with me, as she’s very easy on the eye, and made me almost forgive the many flaws in this film. For example, would you leave a hitchhiker alone in your newly acquired mansion, after having just met him? And why does Leatherface look like Mrs. Doubtfire after a gang beating? There’s plenty here to find fault with, there really is. Oh, and most of the cast, aside from Heather, are either idiots or obnoxious.
However, for all this film’s glaring problems, I did find myself enjoying it. Well, most of it. Okay, some of it. The gore was decent, as was the location, and I really liked where the story arc took the film. Sure, it could be considered trite and predictable (to horror fans), but I’m sure that it would have surprised the mainstream audience. After all, this film wasn’t made for horror fans, it was made to make big bucks at the theater and then on Blu/DVD etc. I’m sure there were good intentions to ensure it had enough appeal to the hardcore horror audience, but as with most films of this type the dollar is the bottom line.
The Blu-ray release comes with your now to be expected digital and Ultraviolet copies, and both the standard and 3D versions of the film. It is R rated, and not uncut (you can watch the uncut version on VOD), but there is a shitload of extras to keep you busy, and a nice 3D sleeve to gawp at. Texas Chainsaw looks good and sounds bloody wonderful, and as much as I expected to loathe it, I did like a fair bit about it. Is it good? Fuck no; there are too many flaws for that. I mean, did anyone check the script before it was filmed?
Put it this way, I’ll take Texas Chainsaw over just about any other Texas Chainsaw flick, aside from Hooper’s 1974 flick and 1986 sequel. It’s dumb, obvious and lazy, but sometimes that’s just enough to keep me occupied. It will have its haters and its fans, but it won’t ever go down as a classic. If anything it just served as a new franchise starter, and if that is the case they will need better script control in future. Hugely flawed, yet strangely entertaining.
Texas Chainsaw is released on Blu-ray and DVD, by Lionsgate, on May 14th.