APRIL 29, 2014 SCREENING: TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D (2013)
Of the three horror films I looked at the final week of April, each of them was a confusing entry in an exist horror franchise. Texas Chainsaw 3D might be the most confusing of the three. After having four only loosely connected films based on the universe of the first movie, the series was remade in the 2000’s. This is not a sequel or a prequel to the remake, but rather its supposedly a “direct sequel” to the original 1974 movie. That sounded like a cool idea and I was intrigued about what they’d come up with. Alas, the results let me down.
Given that the film was advertised as picking up right when the original ended, it gave the filmmakers plenty of leeway to tell all kinds of stories about the famous backwoods inbred cannibal family from Texas. 1986’s Texas Chainsaw Massage 2 took place in real time, so it was a dozen years after the first film. Plenty of things could have happened between the first and second movies, so the new 2013 movie would have plenty of room to play around with, or so it seemed.
Unfortunately, while the movie starts off well enough and seamlessly goes from the end of the 1974 movie to minutes later to show us what happens next, the rest of the movie just bizarrely jumps ahead 40 years to “modern day” Texas. Why? I guess they figured audiences wouldn’t want a period piece and need to see events set in 2014. There’s been a ton of criticism here because the time line they came up with doesn’t make sense. I agree. It picks up in “modern day” after a baby is born at the start of the movie, but instead of an actual 40 year old actress playing the role, the character is now 25ish. Not only does this movie squander its opportunity to tell more stories in the original era of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it apparently breaks its own rules for the time line its set in.
I guess it really not fair for me to give this movie a detailed review (or any kind of review), since I lost interest after about 20 minutes. I “watched” this film in the sense that it played in the background while I went about doing other things, so I missed most of the plot developments, if you can call them that. I did stick around for the climax, which included some pretty ridiculous stuff that the filmmakers no doubt thought would be a “kewl” idea. One example is a female character discovering that Leatherface is her long lost relative that her family has shielded from her all these years, leading her to embrace him in the end as her savior. She gleefully yells “Do your thing, cuz!” as he shows up with his chainsaw to slaughter the guys that have been pursuing her. Groan. By the way, Leatherface sure seems to get around pretty well for a character that would now be in his 60s.
It’s a shame that a concept for a film that had such intriguing promise was apparently mishandled and now there’s no place for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise to go. A horror series about a deformed retarded guy wielding a chainsaw on behalf of his crazy inbred family should be pretty easy to write a fun horror story. But in this case, they totally dropped the ball.
* out of ****