Tobe Hooper's horror classic gets a woeful 3D sequel which tells you a lot of things you never really wanted to know.
During the credit sequence for John Luessenhop's woeful Texas Chainsaw 3D (a title which makes about as much sense as the film itself) we are given a swift précis of Tobe Hooper's 1974 horror masterpiece, now stereoscopically "enhanced". In fact, we're shown a montage of the four or five gore scenes from that earlier film, and as much as it was about coming to terms with gruesome spectacle, its mysteries and ambiguities – the questions left tantalisingly unanswered – were what made it great.
The intention of this sequel is to wipe the entire franchise saga slate clean and offer a new, alternate reading of events. It's a bold move, especially as this is inferior to at least two previous TCM sequels (including the much-maligned Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation). Apparently, directly after the blood-doused Marilyn Burns escaped from the Sawyer farmhouse-cum-DIY abattoir, a posse of good ol' boys decided to clean this mess up the Texan way: by lobbing Jack Daniels molotovs at the house and puncturing its whitewashed façade with their 12-gauge rounds.
But in that short time before the posse arrived, a whole bunch of extended family members gathered at the stack in the name of undying family solidarity (the film's big theme). In the flame-licked chaos, a baby survives and is claimed by one of the mob. And lo, the film starts at the point where the now twentysomething Heather (scowling midriff on legs, Alexandra Daddario) discovers that her nana has kicked the lunchpail and that there's a big ol' house in smalltown Texas with her name on it. Including the power-tool wielding freak monster residing in the basement.
With its constant moments of empty homage (Dead armadillo – check! Screechy flash-bulb sound effects– check! Over-sized barbecue pit – check! Strange hitchhiker – check!) and an ultra generic fill-in-the-blanks script, this new movie is clearly desperate to remain respectful to its lauded source material. But the tone is entirely botched, with the former coming across as a quasi-snuff nasty with sweat and the devil imbued in every frame of its creation, and this being like a bumper episode of The Hills with added meathooks and limb-lopping.
The gang of semi-clad shitbag teens sent off to the grinder are beyond anonymous, and even Daddario has so little shade to her character that her eventual survival and discovery of The Facts is entirely by the by. An offensive late-stage twist cobbles together myths about past mistakes not going unpunished and the bonds of family equating not to love or respect, but to gender defined servitude. Leatherface may have sliced and diced in the name of some nebulous just cause, but the real question is: which woman is going to serve him his dinner?
This is so close to 2003 modern TCM remake, that is surely must be worth while?
Oh dear lord no. Generic, tension-free and lacking in any originality whatsoever. And the 3D is beyond useless.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre '74 > Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 > Texas Chainsaw Massacre '03 > Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation > Texas Chainsaw Massacre III = Texas Chainsaw 3D