Sunday, January 6, 2013

Texas Chainsaw 3D: The Saw IS, In Fact, Still Family.

I love the internet. I hate the internet. That's just the way you start out a review about Texas Chainsaw 3D. You have to. The internet decides your opinion about a film way before you could ever hope to. Hell, I hadn't seen TC3D and I was convinced it was going to be terrible. I was convinced everyone else was right. Well, I'm here to tell you that not EVERYONE was right about TC3D. It's as fun as you let it be. It plays on the best of the series while adding new lore to the canon. It IS grimy. It IS gory. It puts gristle in your teeth. It has one foxy foxy foxy lead (whom I didn't even remember from Bereavement). It's a movie for people that  don't take their franchise too seriously; folks that can remember what a good hack 'em up slash pick from the 80's is supposed to feel like fresh outta the can (or hard drive these days). Let's go into a bit more about this excellent concept, so I can prep myself for the vicious hate mail and trolling I shall receive for praising Texas Chainsaw 3D.

Synopsis (the official version... ooooo):

TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D continues the legendary story of the homicidal Sawyer family, picking up where Tobe Hooper’s 1974 horror classic left off in Newt, Texas, where for decades people went missing without a trace. The townspeople long suspected the Sawyer family, owners of a local barbeque pit, were somehow responsible. Their suspicions were finally confirmed one hot summer day when a young woman escaped the Sawyer house following the brutal murders of her four friends. Word around the small town quickly spread, and a vigilante mob of enraged locals surrounded the Sawyer stronghold, burning it to the ground and killing every last member of the family – or so they thought.

Decades later and hundreds of miles away from the original massacre, a young woman named Heather learns that she has inherited a Texas estate from a grandmother she never knew she had. After embarking on a road trip with friends to uncover her roots, she finds she is the sole owner of a lavish, isolated Victorian mansion. But her newfound wealth comes at a price as she stumbles upon a horror that awaits her in the mansion’s dank cellars.

Sequel or remakes or reimaginings get some pretty heavy scrutiny prior to their release. TC3D is no exception. I was guilty too. Scanning the posters for hints of Hollywood cash grabbing. Only half watching the trailer... partially to allow the story to be fresh and untainted but mostly because I was afraid to dislike it out the door. I steered clear of screen shots and avoided most of the news, though I did find out that Gunnar Hansen and Bill Moseley show up though not as you might expect. My most scathing criticism out the door was that the name should include MASSACRE. It's an important part of the title. So after seeing the movie the only thing that I was truly critical of in the "pre-game" was made bullshit and I don't care what they call the goddamn thing. 

Is it a remake? No. This picks up where the original left off (in case you didn't read the lovely synopsis above). It's in a completely different universe from TCM2 with the exception that it has Bill Moseley in it and that has nothing to do with the part he played in the sequel. It breaks free of the pre-quel and sequel to the prequel as well as the other sequels. It's like watching a movie in an alternate dimension. The take is refreshing and original though it pays its proper respects to the original and, at times, even imitates the original. It's has the best intentions in this regard. It is NOT attempting to be a remake disguised as a sequel or any other such drivel. I know that people found great distasted with The Thing last year even though I rather enjoyed it.

Dan Yeager plays Leatherface aka Jed Sawyer perfectly. His stumbling and bumbling along with his outright rage and intensity, enhanced by some good camera placement will shock and scare you. Yes, there are jump scares, but these the the intentional jump scares that somehow fit this series. That's what the original did so well, and John Luessenhop capitalizes on this pedigree nicely. While the skin mask that Leatherface wears isn't my favorite (that honor goes to my favorite Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Part II) it's a good mask. It isn't bad. It just could be better. What the Hell am I saying. I was barely paying attention to it because Yeager did such a good job behind it.  If this is the start of a new TCM cycle than we're gonna need someone to take a look at the mask again. Admittedly though, I wasn't exactly happy with the mask in the remake though that didn't impact my enjoyment of that movie. I'm not even a huge fan of the mask from TCMIII or Next Gen.

Alexandra Daddario... I have seen you in movies before and enjoyed your performance. Perhaps the greatest nod I can pay to her is that I didn't realize it was the same girlie from Bereavement (which I adore). Her performance is versatile and fun and sexy. She plays her role well and without giving away too much, she's an utter bad ass. That's right... BAD ASS. Considered me star struck and star crushed. Her lead performance as Heather Miller is what I will rave about on Twitter and FaceBook. When someone comes down on this movie hard... I'll throw that in his face unrelentingly, unapologetically and with great confidence. You may take issue with another actor portraying the iconic Leatherface or with the look of the mask, but the character Heather Miller and Daddario's portrayal of her  is new favorite character of mine. Plenty of camp horror acting all around, however it wasn't like a bunch of horror actors method acting as if they were actors in a horror movie. 

Not enough gore... NOPE!!! Plenty of awesome, juicy gore. It will make horror fans happy. It doesn't suck. There's some CGI splatter effects that I could leave, but they are few and far between and do not takeaway from my overall enjoyment of the movie. Lots of gore. Lovely gore and of course, it's all in the 3-D if you choose to watch it that way. Would I recommend you pay extra to see in 3-D? Yes. You'll only get to see it that way in the theater and size does matter. Think you see a chainsaw being thrust at the camera? Yep. Works for me. It isn't used in excess which at first had me put off. I paid over $15 to see a movie with a lightly salted 3-D experience, but it was used appropriately unlike the Fright Night remake. 

Texas Chainsaw 3-D is a dark movie with a moving, imaginative plot that freshens up the series while maintaining everything you love about it. The proper respect is paid to the original. There's gore galore. There's a stunning, hottie lead. There's a man with a chainsaw and there's promise of a sequel with the option for a robust franchise in Lionsgate's corner.  I say bring them on. It made back its budget in its opening weekend and took number one. Looks like they got it right. Hopefully week two has a strong showing as well. I can't wait to pick up the Blu-ray upon it's release so I can see what the motherfucking MPAA made them take out to get the R rating. 

Note (could be considered a spoiler I suppose): Stay around after the credits.



  1. Pure garbage. They set the movie in 2012, 39 years after the original. The only character that aged was the Sheriff. The main character was a baby in 1973 but is miraculously only about 22 or 23 in 2012 (which they clearly display on a grave stone, 2012). Which, by the way, brought the film from ridiculous to absurd. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) is a perfect film, it needs no more exposition, but this movie BEGAN in implausible territory and only sank deeper into the abyss. Stay away if you have a brain. It's lazy film making

  2. They don't specifically give a timeframe for the older events in the TC3D which means it is trying to create its own universe, an alternate dimension if you will. Properly suspending my disbelief, I was able to get over that hump and enjoy the remained of ths movie. Hot lead with interesting take on the mythology and 80's sensiblities with more than a couple good kills. I'm happy. One thing I'm not happy about is the damn Blu-ray price. Nearly $30 is way high for this type of release.