Director: John Luessenhopp
Starring: Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Paul Rae, Thom Barry, Tania Raymonde, Trey Songz, Scott Eastwood, Shaun Sipos, Gunnar Hansen, Tobe Hooper, John Dugan, Marilyn Burns, Bill Moseley, Richard Riehle.
Running Time: 92 minutes
Synopsis: A young woman travels to Texas to collect an inheritance; little does she know that an encounter the infamous chainsaw-wielding killer is part of the reward.
Tobe Hooper unleashed his horrifically raw masterpiece THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE on the world in 1974. It was very loosely based on the real-life crimes of Wisconsin native nutter Ed Gein, who was the inspiration for the limb-lopping loon: Leatherface. Unfairly thrown in amongst the ‘video nasty’ rag-tag bunch here in the UK, Hooper’s infamous low-budget effort was unavailable until 1998 (although in my youth it was known to cross hands in the schoolyard in bootleg video form).
While his original groundbreaking horror lingers in the memory, Hooper’s decision to add more than touch of humour into his 1986 sequel meant that the powerful impact was lost on many fans. Follow-ups, LEATHERFACE: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE III and TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION didn’t have Hooper involved but did follow the humorous trend and all were box-office failures. The mid-2000s saw Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production company give us the double-whammy of a slick and souless outings, which in all honesty were not all bad (thanks to the scene-stealing R. Lee Ermy), and in doing so brought the horror icon to the forefront of a new generation of fans.
TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D attempts to pass the torch of the first film by setting up an opening that follows directly on, before its present day plot presents the opportunity for more ‘mad and macabre’ mayhem. It’s a set-up that Luessenhopp isn’t quite able to pull off, despite many original scenes alongside cameos from franchise veterans Gunner Hansen, John Dugan and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE PART 2’s Bill Moseley (taking over the late Jim Siedow’s role of Drayton Sawyer), whose face is also digitally (and shoddily) transferred to the archive footage in an effort to appear consistent. The proficient new scenes just don’t work when playing directly after Hooper’s grimly-shot classic but deserves credit for at least trying to link the films.
Alexandra Daddario’s Heather Miller is where we pick up the modern direction of the new film, who soon finds her entire life is a lie when notice of a family inheritance lands on her doorstop. She then sets on the road to Texas with her lover and friends to find out just what this recently deceased relative has to offer and to hopefully find some answers to her past. As you’ll expect, said individuals (alongside hitchhiker Darryl) are just throwaway meat in a gore-filled sandwich as the simpleton resurfaces from behind a metallic sliding door to wreak havoc.
Daddario’s played the damsel-in-distress before in Stevan Mena’s BEREAVEMENT, and is also decent this time around. The romantic in me was taken with gorgeous actresses bright blue eyes, which truly stand-out. Others don’t fair so better, no matter have much skin is on show (just don’t get your hopes up for any nudity). The 3D aspect is exploited to the max as Leatherface makes sure you get the ‘point’ of his buzz as blood and literally weapons fly at the screen.
Special-Effects maestro Howard Berger is responsible for some impressive splatter scenes as our favourite human butcher wields hammer, hatchet and ‘that’ trusty power tool as he aims to make right the sins of others by relieving them of their limbs, despite the title lacking a ‘Massacre’.
TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D is dumb, predictable (certainly in terms of who is next for the ‘chop’) and woefully acted at times but comes with a surprising amount of originality come the conclusion that turns the entire franchise on its head (well the first film at least). It wreaks of studio interference with a number of scenes feeling shoe-horned in. The humour of the previous efforts has well and truly disappeared and like it or not, TC3D is closer to Platinum Dunes remake in terms of style rather than the original shocker it follows and borrows from. However, you’ll also find it’s a whole lot of fun if you’re able to swallow the controversial flip finale and ignore the fact the maths just don’t add up when it comes to timelines and character ages, not forgetting a setting clearly aimed at a Halloween release!