Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Review: "Texas Chainsaw 3D" Gory and Scary

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 42 (of 2013) by Leroy Douresseaux

Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)
Running time: 92 minutes (1 hour, 32 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong grisly violence and language throughout
DIRECTOR: John Luessenhop
WRITERS: Adam Marcus and Debra Sullivan, and Kirsten Elms; from a story by Stephen Susco, Adam Marcus and Debra Sullivan (based upon the characters by Kim Henkel and Tobe Hooper)
PRODUCER: Carl Mazzocone
EDITOR: Randy Bricker
COMPOSER: John Frizzell


Starring: Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Tremaine “Trey Songz” Neverson, Tania Raymonde, Shaun Sipos, Keram Malicki-Sanchez, Thom Barry, Paul Rae, Scott Eastwood, James McDonald, Richard Riehle, David Born, and Sue Rock

Texas Chainsaw 3D is a 2013 horror film presented in 3D. It is the seventh film in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. Texas Chainsaw 3D is a sequel to the events of the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), which was directed by Tobe Hooper. Hooper also directed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), the first sequel to his classic film. In Texas Chainsaw 3D, a young woman travels to Texas with her friends to collect an inheritance, but she does not realize that a chainsaw-wielding killer is part of her family legacy.

Picking up immediately after the events of the original movie, Sheriff Hooper (Thom Barry) arrives at the Sawyer home to arrest Jedidiah “Jed” Sawyer (Dan Yeager), for murdering several people – killing some with a chainsaw. However, the people of Newt, Texas, led by Burt Hartman (Paul Rae), want immediate justice and burn down the Sawyer family home, killing everyone inside. In the chaos, Gavin and Arlene Miller (David Born and Sue Rock) find a baby from the Sawyer family and adopt her.

Some two decades later, the daughter, Heather Miller (Alexandra Daddario), is a young artist, living with her boyfriend, Ryan (Tremaine “Trey Songz” Neverson). Heather receives a letter that her grandmother, Verna Carson, has died, and this is the first time that Heather learns that the Millers adopted her. Heather, Ryan, and their friends, Nikki (Tania Raymonde) and Kenny (Keram Malicki-Sanchez), head to Newt, Texas in order for Heather to receive the inheritance that Verna left for her.

When she meets her grandmother’s lawyer, Farnsworth (Richard Riehle), Heather discovers that her grandmother left her a lot of money and a mansion. Heather and her friends love the mansion, planning to spend the night, but do not realize that it holds a monstrous secret, hidden in its bowels.

There is a lot that one can say about Tobe Hooper’s career, some of it negative, but he made one of the greatest horror movies (American and otherwise) ever in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I see the film as a uniquely American gothic tale. It takes the Southern gothic and gives it a Texas edge that also visually encapsulates the decaying state of post-1960s, post-Vietnam America.

I have seen some of the sequels and remakes, not all, and they just do not live up to the original – even Hooper’s own 1986 sequel (which had its moments). No sequel, remake, or re-imagining of the 1974 ever will.

That said, Texas Chainsaw 3D is actually a fairly good movie. It a slasher film with a unique take on family obligations. Texas Chainsaw 3D also plays around with the idea that even the most horrific villain can be a kind of anti-hero when compared to unsavory characters that peddle in class conflict, prejudice, and lynch mobs – the so-called pillars of the community. I’m not going to lie and call this movie an American classic, but this film has a Texas macabre vibe that stuck with me long after I finished watching it.

I did find a few things odd. So if this movie takes place two decades after the original, which took place in the early to mid-1970s, then, Texas Chainsaw 3D takes place in the early to mid-1990s. Just judging by the smart phones, this movie does not take place in the 90s. I guess they just moved the timeline. Also, there is a scene when a jerk rips open Heather’s shirt, for no apparent reason. As she is not wearing a bra, this must be a moment of exploitation to give male audience members a peek at the actress Alexandra Daddario’s breasts.

Selling this film as a 3D movie is cynical, and although I did not see it in 3D, I wonder what I missed. I didn’t notice many scenes that would have been effective in 3D. However, Texas Chainsaw 3D has a number of generally riveting scenes and set pieces, especially the fair ground chase. I would like to see director John Luessenhop and the creative crew and staff of this motion picture get a shot at another film in the franchise.

6 of 10

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

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