Texas Chainsaw 3D (2012)
Directed by: John Lussenhop
Written by: Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan, Kristen Elms, Stephen Susco
Starring: Alexandra Daddario, Bill Moseley, Dan Yeagar, Gunnar Hansen, Scott Eastwood, Tania Raymonde, Trey Songz
Texas Chainsaw 3D (2012)
(18) Running time: 94 minutes
Director: John Lussenhop
Writer: Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan, Kristen Elms, Stephen Susco
Starring: Alexandra Daddario, Tania Raymonde, Scott Eastwood, Dan Yeagar, Trey Songz
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
All the hype and all the excitement of the first proper sequel to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic boils down to this here, Texas Chainsaw 3D (remember, we can’t use the word “massacre” now, too strong!), and the big question is: how the hell do you ‘inherit’ Leatherface from a will? I thought the synopsis was mistaken, you can’t inherit a vicious killer just like that, can you? Sound silly? Well, there’s a lot more where that came from!
I must admit I did get caught up in all the hype, but deep down I wasn’t expecting much. In all fairness there has not been a good Texas Chainsaw Massacre film since Hooper’s classic, and all these remakes, prequels and sequels only manage one thing: they prove just how much of a genius Hooper was, and further prove that his genre defining masterpiece will never, ever be topped. Yes you can add more violence, and some sexy new girls and even give it the added gimmick of 3D, but it can’t hide the fact that none of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequels of recent years have actually been any good. Sadly, John Lussenhop’s attempt at making something worthy of fan support, is no exception. Texas Chainsaw 3D is often a terrible film, and at times it took all my strength to stay sat in my comfy cinema seat. There were actually moments here where I buried my head in shame.
The film begins well: we get a collection of scenes from Hooper’s film (again, reiterating how bad this film is) and they lead on to the story of Lussenhop’s film. As we all know from the original, Sally escapes and she alerts the local sheriff of the family of cannibals. The sheriff arrives to arrest Leatherface, and the rowdy townsfolk turn up on a mission to kill the Sawyer family. This opening scene is smart, as we see many familiar faces in the Sawyer household, including Bill Moseley (who looks exactly the same!) and the original Leatherface himself, Gunnar Hansen. The faded yellowish haze is intact, and all appears to be well. However, once we fast forward some twenty years the film goes downhill, rapidly.
Meet Heather (Alexandra Daddario) who has just been given a ticket out of her dead end job. A will has been posted from a Granny she never knew existed, and she has been told to go to Texas to collect her winnings. Tagging along are her cheating, seriously irritating boyfriend Ryan (Trey Songz), her equally annoying best friend Nikki (Tania Raymonde, and cue lots of perverted ‘pants’ and ‘chest’ shots), and the bearable Carl (Scott Eastwood, he’s Clint Eastwood’s son you know!). Along the way they run over a hitchhiker (Shaun Sipos) and decide to give him a lift, and eventually the merry bunched of clichéd idiots turn up in Texas, and if they have not pushed your patience to the limits, they soon will. Learning she has inherited a massive mansion, Heather and her friends stay the night and party: cue loads more close ups of Nikki’s body, silly dancing, cooking, playing pool and talking in horrifically forced dialogue. Thankfully though, the house comes with a nasty surprise, and even though it doesn’t come soon enough to cure a sudden headache, the killings eventually begin.
Granted the violence here can, at times, be quite nasty: bodies cut in half, the site of a chainsaw going anywhere near naked flesh will make you shudder, hammer attacks, Achilles heals sliced, oh and those meat hooks are back! However, even when Leatherface throws his chainsaw at a police officer, it doesn’t quite hit the mark (no pun intended). The cast of characters give you very little reason to be worried, you want them to die so they will shut up, or stop making hilariously bad decisions. Daddario is the only person here with any clarity in her role, any conviction, and she is the only person you will give a shit about. The rest, and I am talking about EVERYONE here, may as well have just lined up outside Leatherface’s hideout and been slaughtered one by one in increasingly inventive ways, THAT would have been more fun. There is just too much silliness here to ever take this film seriously, and that is a real shame.
One stupid decision is followed by another here. For example, why the hell would you leave a guy you just met to take your bags into your new mansion, with the keys, while you all head off shopping. Then, why the hell would you be surprised he has robbed you? Why, when running from a clearly unstable madman with a chainsaw, would you stop to hide? Even worse, why would you keep peering round a tree or tombstone? Why go down into the basement in the first place without everyone else? Why, oh why, can’t they stop bloody screaming, the killer won’t find you then! And don’t even get me started on one of the stupidest scenes in the history of stupid scenes where a policeman, all on his own, follows a trail of blood into a dangerous place, without backup. And oh god why on earth does the town Mayor and Sheriff tell him to keep going while watching the officer’s video from his phone? It is lazy writing to try and get some thrills for the audience and it does not work! Don’t even get me started on the scares: one, possibly two work, the rest are watered down mush that lose all their impact as the bloody camera decides to switch angles!
And it gets worse, much worse. In a totally bonkers, totally insane plot device, the makers of this film are actually trying to get you, the viewer, to find sympathy with the Sawyer family. They are actually trying to get you to find pity on a six and a half foot tall maniac who slaughters innocent people. They are actually trying to make you believe that a town in panic, killing a family of murderers and cannibals, are the bad guys. Granted the town’s folk are not exactly the most pleasant bunch, but come on. And learning that Leatherface is actually Heather’s cousin (sorry but this is not really a spoiler if you have read the synopsis), and then seeing her in a painfully cringe worthy way cheer on her cousin by yelling “do your thing cuz”, this is NOT a reason to raise your fist in the air and join in “go on my son!!”. No, it is a reason for you to doubt your own sanity, and if you do find yourself cheering on this apparent hero, then you have issues.
Texas Chainsaw 3D is awful, and all I want to do now is watch Hooper’s classic to remind myself that not all hope is lost. An embarrassment to our beloved horror genre, this film needed to be sent to the slaughter house, hung up on a hook and sliced up well before going into production.