Talk about a film with so many mixed reviews. Well, actually, many horrible reviews, but still, I wanted to see it for myself and you know what? I’m glad I did. The movie starts off with actual scenes from the 1974 original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which I really liked, and didn’t expect. The story continues on from there, exactly where the first massacre left off — though not quite very smoothly or seamless. A bunch of town hillbillies decide to take matters into their own hands and burn down the Sawyer farmhouse with the entire family in it — or so they thought. Obviously Leatherface managed to get out alive and a Sawyer baby as well who was found by one of the townsfolk at the scene, was found and adopted.
Move forward decades later, and the fully grown young woman discovers that her long lost grandma recently died and left a rather large inheritance for her, including a big mansion and a little something more than she bargained for in the cellar. Of course, the main female protagonist agrees to take her friends with her on this trip to Newt, Texas, after having just found out from her trashy parents that she was adopted and came from “trash”. The cast is your typical cookie cutter fare for a slasher movie. None of these relative unknown actors really did anything special, but weren’t that terrible either. They all manage to look like supermodels as well which is so realistic, right?
I can understand a lot of the criticism this movie has received with regard to the plot and some of the ridiculous missing details that poke tons of holes in any logic in some situations. But seriously, I can think of many horror films that are highly regarded, considered classics and much revered that suffer from a lot of the same faults Texas Chainsaw 3D does. Anyone expecting this to top the visceral and dirty feel of the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre from the 1970’s will be disappointed, of course. But this movie also has its own strengths and shines in many areas which other horror sequels really fail at. Texas Chainsaw 3D did not need the 3D — it was not necessary at all, despite there being two or three occasions during the movie where I thought the visual effect was well done and suited the scene. The audience I was with seemed to eat it up. The cinematography and set-pieces were excellent. The grimy feel of the Sawyer house was perfectly captured and I actually felt like I was there most of the time.
The audio and soundtrack was decent with the exception of some of the r ‘n b and hip hop music — thankfully, those were kept to a bare minimum. Atmosphere and tension were built effectively through the use of different sounds and musical score for the most part. Gore, blood and violence was expertly done in this film. Kudos for the director and special fx team on the job they did here. The blood and guts was there in your face and the camera rarely shied away from any of it. There was plenty of cringing going on at the screening I attended and the gasps could be heard on several occasions coming from the crowd. Leatherface’s masks were pretty gross, too.
This brings me to Leatherface himself. He’s unapologetically vicious and downright nasty in this. I don’t understand how anyone could have any qualms about this Leatherface; he’s definitely not the worst in this series by a longshot and in my opinion he’s gotta be right up there as one of the best Leatherfaces in the entire franchise. The only problem I had was how they try to humanize him at one point and flip things so that the audience might feel some sympathy for him, but other than that, this character was handled splendidly and with a respectful nod to the original.
Texas Chainsaw 3D was not a masterpiece by any means, and had plenty of things people could pick at – and even laugh at – but overall, this was an enjoyable horror flick to watch. The ending was rather satisfying if you could forgive a few things, and I don’t know how anyone could not have been entertained by it. If you haven’t gone to watch this yet, make sure that when you do, you stick around until after the end credits for a nice little payoff. I think ultimately this movie was targetting audiences that aren’t already horror aficionados and who aren’t completely desensitized to horror films. In this respect, I think it has succeeded, and the box office numbers for opening weekend I guess reflect this. This is not to say that they completely ignored long time fans of the franchise or veteran horror fanatics, because I feel there is plenty in there to service that crowd, also. Texas Chainsaw 3D provides plenty of entertainment for both mainstream movie-going audiences and passionate horror fanboys/girls alike. Go see it and judge for yourself. Just don’t expect anything groundbreaking, and remember, a lot of the horror films you revere are far from perfect, but you still love them.