Tuesday, January 22, 2013

TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D (2013) movie review

Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013) d. Luessenhop, John (USA)

What to say, what to say? It’s been nearly 40 years since Tobe Hooper’s original insta-classic roared onto drive-in movie screens, a low budget masterpiece that has overshadowed anything he or anyone else involved have done since. But after three middlin’ sequels of varying quality, 2003’s Platinum Dunes reboot and ensuing ’06 prequel to said reboot, there seems little point in trying to preserve the integrity of the sacred Saw. This latest studio cashgrab starts off promisingly, setting itself up as a direct sequel to the events of the 1974 flick (even having the cojones to use Hooper’s actual footage in its opening sequence), with a Law vs. Saw(yer) face-off occurring presumably not too long after that pickup truck brought Marilyn Burns’ hysterical Sally into the next Texas burg over. Cameos from Gunnar Hansen, Bill Moseley and John Dugan offer a little goodwill, but after local redneck Paul Rae’s lynch mob instigates a clan-crisping bloodbath inferno, we’re launched into the present day world and the whole thing goes kerplooey.

Seems hot young thang Alexandra Daddario is the orphaned offspring of the Sawyer clan, a mere babe the night the shite went down. But now she’s grown up, filled out, hooked up with sweet brown sugarman Tremaine “Trey Songz” Neverson, and about to find out she’s inherited her long-lost grandmother’s estate back in Sawyerville (or whatever the town’s called). Grab skanky two-timin’ friend Tania Raymonde, girl, time for a road trip! When they get there, guess who’s living in the basement? (I’d post a spoiler alert if I thought I was spoiling anything, but anyone who doesn’t see this coming has bigger problems to worry about.)

This is probably as good a time as any to mention the colossal logistical goof the THREE credited screenwriters make by setting the action in our ever-lovin’ iPhone era. If the action takes place in 2012, and we all know the original film took place in 1974, then that means… Yep, Leatherface (Dan Yeager) should be at least 60, and young Daddario should be pushing 40. But nope, she’s a hot young twentysomething and while we never get a glimpse behind the skin mask, I’m guessing there’s maybe a touch of gray if that. How did this get past EVERYONE involved? (Edit: A friend just told me that if you look on the gravestones in one scene, it shows that the events of the original film were magically transported to 1989. If that was Luessenhop’s angle, he definitely needed to be selling that element hard, like ice water in the tundra.)

The rest is the expected parade of screaming bimbos, brainless buzzing and boneheaded plot points that should keep you occupied until you reach the bottom of the popcorn bag. It’s not good by a long shot, but it’s also too simpleminded to cause any true offense. I know, I know, considering how much invective I spilled toward Marcus Nispel’s ridonkulous remake back in ’03, I suppose I should be a little more outraged. But whether it’s that I’m too inured by the past decade’s cavalcade of endless reboots or Luessenhop’s take is just slightly less pretentious, I’m surprisingly not.

Bottom line, this one doesn’t deserve to carry its namesake’s dirty leavings (and let’s not even get into the dropping of both “The” and “Massacre”), but it’s just dumb enough to be fun. If all you want are some hot asses screaming their heads off while buzzsaws tear through metal and flesh – all in the third dimension – then what the hell? Who am I to talk anyone out of giving their hard-earned cash to the heartless studio bitches? (In case you were pursing your lips to ask, nope, I bought my ticket for This Is 40 and then strolled on afterwards. Sue me.)


  1. Whoa! A full-length review? Nicely played sir. Actually you kind of just made me want to go see it. Is the 3D good? Does it pop out of the screen or is it a sloppy conversion?

    Oh, and I turned off the captcha on my blog by your request a long time ago. *ahem* hint, hint...

    1. Dear god in heaven, I never meant to inspire anyone...

      The 3D is decent, comparable to the MY BLOODY VALENTINE redux. I'm pretty sure it was shot in 3D, so it played pretty well. Lots of shots of chainsaws and broken glass comin' atcha.

      Do I still have that thing on? Sheesh. I was getting spammed for a while following the BIFFF, but it's been a while. I'll give it another whirl.

  2. So, according to this film, the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre took place in 1989, three years after its sequel? Now that's impressive.

  3. The world surely has bigger issues to solve than this. But given I've caught up with this 7th installment of the franchise (remake & prequel included) last month, I also payed extra attention to the quibbles mentioned on here. Been meaning to share my finds about it, so here goes...

    - The Graveyard Setting: I paused & rewound & slow-motioned & zoomed-in on the tombstones that are featured up close and in the background during those scenes. Some dates are strategically blocked (props & framing) and others are too far away or slide by in such a manner you can't tell exactly which year they mention. And if you might get a glimpse of something that may possibly look like the year 1989 (which I honestly could not distinguish myself) then it's on a tombstone that doesn't mention the Sawyer family name.

    - The 1974 Events: While indeed this film constructed an opening sequence to tie in right after the events that ended Hooper's original, what they did was simply erasing all evidence that might date the actual events of the original. Hooper's footage was matched during the opening credits, with some additional new shots spliced in-between (one brief shot of Bill Moseley's face can be seen also, who wasn't even in the 1974 film). Any other possible (visual) references to the original events throughout the rest of the film, are also shot in a way you can't see the actual dates or years (for instance: the old police paper files)

    So they weren't actually trying to convince us about the original events taking place in 1989. Instead, they wanted us to forget about the first film having taken place in 1974. The only way I'd be willing to fly with that, would be to see it as a 'this could have happened anywhere, anytime' approach. But agreeably so, it's still a very hard sell. Even funnier if they went like: "Hey Texas fans, young and old, we made sure to glue everything together in our way that sticks for us, now YOU feel free to date it any way it fits your needs."

    - The Title: Both the on-screen opening & closing credits mention the film as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D, so at least that's that. Going the Texas Chainsaw 3D route for promo & marketing reasons, that's another thing, of course.

    Not making a case here, merely straightening out some factual presumptions. All this, does not make it a better or worse film in the end.

  4. Well, whether it was the Sawyer name or not, the fact that a gravestone reads "1989" indicates that we are at least that far along.

    I understand that they were trying to keep it timeless, but considering how iconic the original is (and how much a product of the 1970s it is), if they wanted to update it they should have made a bigger deal that they had updated it!

    I am happy to stand corrected regarding the title, since I've only seen it the one time and not in any big hurry to revisit hahaha

    Sorry for the delay in responding to this! Hard to believe this was written almost 8 years ago! Nice to know people are still coming back to it.

  5. Quick clarification about the "1989" tombstone reference: I mentioned that year simply because your friend did. But I myself could not spot this specific year on any of the tombstones. I had to blow up & re-frame the DVD images, but since it was a digi-zoom tactic, the image also became less sharp. I could still make out some names, but the years became a pixeled blur. At one point I was trying to figure out a date that vaguely seemed to resemble the year 1956. Thinking "This can't be right!" I gave up my futile deciphering efforts after that. Hah.

    About the timeless and/or update approach: They kind of lost me with that whole smartphone sequence. Not that it was badly executed, because the idea worked and it could be crafted into a suspenseful sequence nonetheless. But in any other film, that is. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre did NOT need cellphones.

    Yessir, you have a mighty fine and insightful review archive online! Always nice to come back here and stroll around, to explore and discover some more. Kudos!