Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Texas Chainsaw

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Does anyone else hear a chainsaw rumbling? 




Texas Chainsaw – 1 out of 5

I’ve never been a big fan of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre—the original, I mean.  I hold far less esteem for the remake and that prequel that looks more like a remake than a prequel. However, I don’t outright hate the film; I actually appreciate its existence but, for the most part, I think it’s a shitty film. The acting is awful, the story does little to keep my attention and the infamous dinner scene is so loud and annoying I throw lamps across the room and flip tables whenever I watch it—so I should probably stop watching it because the stock of flippin’ tables and tossin’ lamps is running low in my Table Flippin’/Lamp Tossin’ room. However, Tobe Hooper broke new ground in the world of horror and made a macabre slasher film the likes of which has never been seen. So, from a history of cinema perspective, I love the film but from a story and entertainment perspective, it’s pure shit.

Is that a Rob Schneider clone?



A black sheriff in the 70s?!?  I'm pretty Texas won't even allow
that to happen now.
 Texas Chainsaw is a sequel that takes place nearly 40 years after the first film—and a sequel to this sequel will probably just be called Texas. The film opens with the moments directly after the first film ends—the stuff we never got to see in the many sequels this franchise has popped out (even the one with Matthew McConaughey—why wasn’t that one asking the important questions?). Sheriff Hooper (Thom Barry) arrives at the house, demanding that Leatherface be turned over and his crimes answered for. After some resistance, the Sawyer family seems open to the idea of turning over their face-wearing kin before some locals come and put a kink in the chain (chain…of the chainsaw!) and proceed to lay waste to the home with bullets, set that bitch on fire and probably either pissed on the ashes or tea bagged some corpses. 

"Does the woman's ass dominate the shot?  Good, film it for three hours.  It's
essential to the plot." - The Director


 As the smoke settled, two of the yokels finds the widdle baby Edith Sawyer and absconds with her to raise as their own. Years pass and little Edith is now Heather Miller and she discovers the truth that her parents are not her biological ones when she is informed that her grandmother (from the Sawyer family) has passed away and left her an estate. Gathering up her nondescript, soon-to-be-chainsaw fodder friends, Heather (Alexandra Daddario) heads out to see her new home…only to discover that the home holds a secret and has been housing Leatherface (Dan Yeager) all these years.


This is Heather's boyfriend, played by a guy named Trey Songz--apparently,
he's a musician.  That kinda explains the moronic last name.


She's trying to find the rest of her shirt.

For the most part, I didn’t really care for Texas Chainsaw (I’m omitting the 3D portion of the title because I watched this in plain old vanilla 2D). There were elements I enjoyed but all these factors weren’t apart of the story and were just outside elements and Easter Eggs that I found interesting or cool. While the story is somewhat interesting, I kinda liked how we see the aftermath of the first film and see where Leatherface has been resting his head all these years—although I’m not entirely sure how this element fits in with the canon of the rest of the franchise. However, the film is light on the scare factor, light on decent and convincing acting, lacking foresight when it concerns some drama that could have been utilized for the characters (like the fact Heather’s friend is getting all nasty with her boyfriend), not as gory as the producers would have you believe (supposedly they had to edit back in order to get their NC-17 rating down to an R) and, overall, the entire film just felt rushed and didn’t take its time to develop naturally and make it something more than a generic sequel and slasher movie.

Paul Rae was in Daddy Day Camp.  I'm trying to say this isn't the scariest
film he's been in.


With all the bad going for this film, I did find it cool that the original actors from the 1974 cult classic make cameos in the film. The original Leatherface; Gunner Hansen, makes an appearance at the beginning of the film as Boss Sawyer, the one that got away; Sally (Marilyn Burns), returns to the franchise to play the grandmother to Heather, Verna, and John Dugan, the man in all the make-up as Grandpa in the infamous dinner sequence reprises his role—and I’m guessing this time he didn’t need the make-up. Then there’s also the little nods and winks with the fact the Sheriff’s last name is Hooper. But, like I said, these cool tidbits have little to do with the actual enjoyment of the film and are just interesting in and of itself.


Ladies and gentlemen, the original Leatherface.


He either just witnessed Leatherface murder someone or
just filled his pants...or both.
 The only thing I really dug in this movie was the slight change we see in Leatherface. With all the other films in the franchise and even the remake and prequel to the remake that is probably just another remake, we always saw Leatherface as a psychotic killer with an affinity towards logging equipment and masks made from human flesh—not to mention his enjoyment of spinning in circles with a running chainsaw. This film sees Leatherface take on a new fa├žade as he becomes an anti-hero towards the film’s end. That’s right, the story is geared for you to cheer on Leatherface and not in the way you cheered him on in the past (like killing the annoying screaming girl) but rather in a way that makes you say, “Yeah, kill that asshole because he’s slightly more evil than you are, Man Who Kills People and Eats Them.”


"Time to get off da chain...saw." (His puns were notoriously bad, that's why
Leatherface didn't say much beyond incomprehensible shrieking.



I guess adding the element of it raining is something new.
 Aside from this, the movie was pretty unimaginative as it starts like every freakin’ Texas Chainsaw Massacre film (read that as a group gets into a van and, mysteriously, are willing to drive through Texas and, yes, there is a hitchhiker) and after the familiarity of the beginning is done, the familiarity of the middle starts as the deaths begin (even the first death is meant to be an homage to the first film by killing in the exact same way but at what point does an homage within a franchise cross the line and just become doing the same thing over and over again?). The only real change is towards the end where we see Leatherface’s character alter slightly but, at its core, he’s still just a deranged lunatic killing people with a chainsaw without the panache and style that Ash Williams brought to this dynamic.


Was unbuttoning the hitchhiker's shirt that much really neccessary?



"Put that chainsaw in 3D and no one will notice we
didn't try on the scipt." - The Director.
 Maybe that’s why Texas Chainsaw went boldly into the third dimension, to try and hide the fact that this film doesn’t really do much to differentiate itself from the other films—not that this franchise has every really tried to break out of its formula (once again, see the prequel to the remake that looks like another fucking remake). Instead of relying on cheap gimmicks, let’s focus on the real problem: How an overweight man (in his 50s, maybe 60s, in this film) carrying a chainsaw is able to somehow keep pace with slender, fit girls in midriff bearing tank tops and tight jeans? The realistic approach would be Leatherface chasing for…um…about 30 seconds before he’s double over, winded and wheezing uncontrollably while he searches for either an inhaler or a Hostess cupcake.


You can almost hear his thighs slapping together.


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