Texas Chainsaw 3D
Disappointing return for Leatherface
The trend for quickie remakes has drawn plenty of ire from the horror community, bemoaning the lack of originality and often shoddy cash-in movies trading on brand recognition and little else. Of course there are exceptions: John Carpenter’s The Thing and David Cronenberg’s The Fly are genre classics, while the current crop has thrown up a few gems including The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha 3D (perhaps uncoincidentally both directed by Alexandre Aja), there’s also a decent 2003 remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
However to circumvent the fan fury Texas Chainsaw 3D is a direct sequel to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 TCM (in terms of continuity it ignores Hooper’s own 1986 follow up, the numerous sequels as well as the 2003 remake and the remake’s 2006 prequel). We open with a 3D recap of footage from the first film, then cut to the aftermath of events in the original as a posse of gun-toting rednecks show up show up looking for revenge, burning the slaughterhouse to the ground and killing the Sawyer clan. All except one, a baby girl.
Cut to 2012 and that baby is all grown up. But if our timeline is correct - the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre was made in 1974, this film is set in 2012 - she should be 38 at the very youngest and certainly not a generic college kid played by 26-year-old Alexandra Daddario. It’s such a major flaw and exemplifies how lazy the whole production is.
She unexpectedly inherits a house in Texas and heads down to check it out with her pals, before encountering Leatherface (played by Dan Yeager), who should be at least 60 by now, who goes on a buzzsaw rampage eviscerating her friends and a few townsfolk along the way.
Texas Chainsaw 3D makes a big point of linking to the 1974 original in the opening sequence but this desperate bid for legitimacy turns out to be irrelevant; it’s a gimmick to appease the fan boys but actually spits in their face by ignoring the 38 year gap between the two films (they could have easily avoided this anomaly by setting the film in the 90s).
Even if we ignore the timeline, what’s most frustrating is people don’t seem to act in a logical way: they seem to purposely run towards danger (particularly a scene where a cop explores Leatherface’s basement lair), and there’s a succession of stupid people doing stupid things. The acting is also pretty wooden throughout (R&B/hip hop star Trey Songz is particularly bad) which doesn’t help matters.
It does just about work as undemanding horror fare. The final act takes a darker turn that offers a few cool (if underdeveloped) twists, there are some gory kills and some goofy fun as a huge chainsaw thrusts out of the screen in 3D, but this is a generic by the numbers slasher that squanders TCM’s grimy history.