I knew this new goal of mine wasn’t going to be easy, that I would end up being forced to watch some of the most pointless and ill-conceived pieces of garbage Hollywood throws out on a semi-regular basis. I just had no idea that it would hit me this hard this early. True, the idea of yet another reboot of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series never really held any promise to begin with, but horror remakes/reboots in recent years have at least proved themselves possible of being mildly bearable. Now I haven’t seen the original film and because of how closely the plot to this movie is tied to that movie I can understand that perhaps I’m missing something here that makes it great, but I would be really surprised if that was the case. Texas Chainsaw 3D almost saves some small amount of face at the end (pun intended) but for the most part its mix of mind-bogglingly stupid characters and complete lack of actual suspense add up to one of the worst horror movies I’ve ever seen.
We enter in on a condensed version of the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre, complete with clips of footage from the movie itself. The first original shots of the movie take place after the events of that film, with the town Sheriff, Hooper (Thom Barry), confronting the Sawyer family and calling them to give up their mentally challenged son, the emotionally disables and gargantuan murderer known as Leatherface (Dan Yeager). Just as the family gives up and is about to hand over Leatherface, the a posse of heavily armed townspeople show up and torch the house, killing everyone inside. Unbeknownst to them, several members of the family escaped, including Leatherface and his infant cousin, Heather (Alexandra Daddario). Years later, Heather finds out that she was in fact adopted and that her real grandmother left her a house when she recently died. Along with her
boyfriend Ryan (Trey Songz) and her two friends Nikki (Tania Raymonde) and Kenny (Keram Malicki-Sanchez), Heather drives down to the house to find out more about her real family. Soon after they arrive, a thieving hitchhiker (Scott Eastwood) they had picked up discovers Leatherface living in the basement. As her cousin starts picking them off one by one, Heather soon learns that the psychopathic human-skin-wearing killer isn’t the only one to fear in town.
The movie can really be separated into two separate parts. The beginning plays out as a pretty standard slasher movie, with a group of young, hot twenty-somethings going to a remote location and then trying to escape a serial killer with their lives. The second half is a bit less standard, and it is simultaneously the worst and best part of the movie. Without giving any spoilers away to those of you who for some reason still want to see this, this issue of Heather’s family ties and the murder of the Sawyers by the townspeople come in to play and create a somewhat interesting twist for the last twenty minutes or so. I’ll admit it’s an interesting twist, but it was wasted on a movie which feels like it wouldn’t know what to do with a good idea if it ever happened upon one.
This is a horror movie, so you typically wouldn’t expect much in the way of acting or character development for the main victims. In this case, you’d be right. During the movie’s slasher half, our main characters are the expected ensemble of big-breasted bimbos and hyper-masculine douchebags (with a small exception for Kenny, I sort of liked him at times). Daddario is little more than an eye-shadow covered pair of breasts bouncing around in a weird sort of ripped up belly shirt while avoiding death several times thanks to how shitty Leatherface seems to be at killing people. Her boyfriend pretty much exists to give
an acting credit to R&B singer Trey Songz and another lamb to the slaughter. My personal favorite though was Raymonde as Nikki. With her skimpy outfits and skanky personality, Nikki seems to have been inserted into the movie to distract viewers from just how horrible the pre-murder bits of the film are. To emphasize this, the camera regularly takes shots of people talking from right behind Nikki’s ass (i.e. Miranda in Mass Effect 2, see adjacent image).
Then there’s townspeople, a sheriff with a good heart, Kenny, yada yada yada… Let’s get on to Leatherface. I cannot stress how bad of a serial killer Leatherface is, not how embarrassing to the local law enforcement that he avoids capture for so long. Sure, he has the hulking 6 foot 5 frame and the titular chainsaw on his side, but other than that he is nowhere near the terrifying presence that other famed slasher-stars have been. Even the way he walks invokes the occasional unintended laugh. When Jason or Michael Myers are chasing down their prey, they simply walk towards it, knife in hand, which the slow and deliberate pace of someone who knows the person has no chance of getting away. When Leatherface chases one of his victims, he does this weird shuffle/amble that looks more silly than menacing. I will admit though that my fear of needles made the face-sewing scene near the end almost too much to bear, but that just made me nauseous instead of scared.
The Verdict: 2.5/10 Horrible
– Characters were so shallow and poorly acted that I was cheering Leatherface on
– Leatherface just didn’t feel that scary
– Laughably stupid decisions made by all characters, good and bad
+ Twist near the end at least manages to shake things up a little
Rotten Tomatoes: 19%
The Code is Zeek: 1/5
Average: 3.2/10 – Just Plain Bad