‘Texas Chainsaw 3-D’ is dumb fun
Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic, “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” was a landmark horror film, delivering low-budget, feverish scares more effectively than most of its contemporaries – past and present.
But three sequels, a remake and a prequel later, that saw has grown awfully dull. The latest iteration, “Texas Chainsaw 3-D,” adds a bit of WD-40 to the equipment, serving as a reboot, remake and sequel all in one, along with a bizarre twist that could have series regulars scratching their heads.
By and large, it’s a typical, knuckleheaded modern horror flick, but that inkling of creative license from director John Luessenhop (“Takers”) and his team of four writers hefts it above the line of unwatchability and into the dumb fun category.
Disregarding all the previous sequels and remakes, Luessenhop’s version opens with a 3-D enhanced recap of Hooper’s original, with the new story picking up right where the first film left off.
The cannibalistic Sawyer clan finds itself in a sticky – literally and figuratively – situation. With one of their latest victims having escaped and informed the police, they find themselves face to (Leather)face with the law – and a rowdy lynch mob.
Before a beleaguered deputy (Thom Barry, TV’s “The West Wing”) can reach a surrender agreement, the overzealous mob torches the house, putting an end to the Sawyer line – or so they think.
Fast forward to present day, college student Heather (Alexandra Daddario, “Hall Pass”) learns she was adopted when notified of the death of her biological grandmother, Verna Sawyer (Marilyn Burns from the 1974 original). This means Heather somehow survived the 1974 fire, which, after doing the math, would actually make her 38 years old, a fact the writers must have found inconvenient and better left ignored.
After confronting her adoptive parents, one of whom was involved in the lynch mob, she decides to head to Texas to claim her inheritance, bringing three archetypical friends, who, as we all know, will end up as chainsaw fodder. They even pick up a hitchhiker in another nod to Hooper’s original.
The unwitting fivesome arrives at Heather’s inherited mansion, only to discover that there was yet another survivor of the fire – her biological cousin, Leatherface (Dan Yeager, “Metal Heads”), the halfwitted, chainsaw-wielding maniac who helped his family wreak bloody havoc in the original.
Needless to say, more bloody havoc ensues. Unfortunately, it’s the computer-generated kind, the sad modern-day equivalent to yesteryear’s orangeish-red splatter.
Attractive young people react as attractive young people do in horror flicks of this ilk and are subsequently hacked apart, placed on meat hooks, and so on and so forth. Fortunately, director Luessenhop approaches his task with tongue planted firmly in cheek, bringing a self-awareness that makes “Chainsaw 3-D” more of an entertaining B-movie than a straight-up dismal horror. The 3-D effects add to this cheesiness, serving mainly for a couple scenes in which a CGI chainsaw is lobbed at the screen.
Furthermore, Luessenhop shifts from first to third in the second half, positioning the Leatherface character as a sort of sympathetic antihero – who just happens to relentlessly murder people with a gore-splattered power tool.
It’s a bold move by Luessenhop and company, effectively shaking the series’ foundation and venturing into new – although ridiculous – territory. It’s dumb as a bag of morons, but at least it’s something new.
“Texas Chainsaw 3-D,” rated R for strong grisly violence and language throughout, is playing at Regal Cinema 7 in Boone. For show times, visit http://www.mountaintimes.com/movies.