I like to use 2010’s Nightmare on Elm Street as the basis for horror remakes I’m not fond of. So when Texas Chainsaw 3D was announced, I automatically wrote it off as being something you could put on the shelf right next to this one. I have to admit I was actually surprised. Yeah, it’s a bad movie, but I didn’t find myself scoffing nearly as much as I did Nightmare, which really didn’t work for me at all. I just don’t see myself running back to see this one. I believe part of this has to do with the way the film opens.
Having gone into the film blind, I expected a remake of the remake. Essentially the same story we had with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. The shock was that the film starts with the events of the original Tobe Hooper film, rendered in 3D (which was very cool, I might add). It then moves to the afternoon after the last victim ran away. This gives anyone who may be unfamiliar with the original a bit of a bridge, and personally having never liked any of the original sequels, I liked the aftermath that takes place.
Essentially, Texas Chainsaw 3d is the story of Heather Miller (played by Percy Jackson’s Alexandra Daddario), who receives word from her lawyer that she’s inherited a home in Dallas, Texas. What she doesn’t realize is that this inheritance comes with a few problems. She decides to hop in a van and head down there, accompanied by her friend Nikki (Tania Raymonde), Nikki’s date Kenny (Keram Malicki-Sanchez), and her boyfriend (Tremaine “Trey Songz” Neverson, who the girls in my audience gave the same whoops and catcalls normally reserved for Pattinson/Lautner in a Twilight Showing).
Basically, the movie becomes the cliché “draw this person into isolation and Bam!” that every horror film has, but I’ll admit that I watched a lot of those scenes with my eyes averted, so in that aspect, it got the job done. The visual makeup effects were done by Robert Kurtzman, the “K” in the KNB Effects group (The Walking Dead’s Gregory Nictotero and Howard Berger are the others), and there’s no shortage of blood in this film. While it’s not quite on the level on what the upcoming Evil Dead looks like – that appears to be on the epic Dead Alive levels – Chainsaw does have limbs lost, blood spurting and Leatherface’s signature weapon used to fullest extent. Those moments of isolation come of as very intense, and the direction isn’t bad.
The 3D in the film was nice, though used sparingly. To be honest, the best use of the effects was in what it added to the pieces of the original film that were used. I really enjoyed the outcome there and there are a few key “weapon in the camera” shots that may make you flinch.
Horror films have their eye candy. Sex sells, let’s face it. In Chainsaw, both Raymonde and Daddario had the guys captivated, and Scott Eastwood (Clint’s Son) works for the ladies. While there’s no nudity in the film, good considering how many kids were at my showing, there’s enough skin to appreciate.
What I didn’t like about the film was that in this day and age where you have smart heroes in horror stories – one need only look at Cabin in the Woods here – Chainsaw resorts to the classic “two step, drop” method, meaning that characters meaning to escape will only make it a few steps before stumbling over their feet. I don’t know if that works anymore for audiences. The times that it happened at my showing brought about more laughter than it did horror. Granted, I can’t say I’d be the best of runners with someone wielding a noisy chainsaw behind me, but you’d be damn sure I’d be up or kicking from the floor if I had to. Additionally, the heroes make a few stupid mistakes, which they have to I suppose. Still, I would have liked a few more smart moves. One other thing is that Leatherface himself, while menacing, doesn’t have the same effect that the Brynarski one in Marcus Nispel’s film with Jessica Biel. The Leatherface in that film was a hulking behemoth of a dude that ran with football player like speeds. Chainsaw 3D’s Leatherface is more like your grandpa that caught you stomping around his rose garden and chased after you with garden shears. It’s the equivalent of seeing Dawn of the Dead running zombies and going back to shuffling walkers.
Overall, Texas Chainsaw 3D isn’t anything fantastic and new. You can wait for it on 3D Blu-Ray. If you are an absolute fan of the series, it’s worth a look for both the connections to the original and a cool Gunnar Hansen cameo. Or you can watch it just for Daddario. Just make sure someone else buys you the ticket.