Texas Chainsaw 3D
Directed by John Luessenhop
Starring Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Trey Songz, Tania Raymonde, Scott Eastwood, Shaun Sipos, Keram Malicki-Sanchez, Thom Barry, Paul Rae
Released on January 4, 2013
Running time: 1h 32m
Rated R; F-bombs per minute: 0.58
What the hell is this bilge? This is not The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
I’m going to be brief with my background with this. I saw the original, and it became one of my personal favorite films. In fact, aside from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Rosemary’s Baby, and Psycho, it is my personal favorite horror film, just barely edging out Hellraiser. I convinced myself to see the 2003 remake out of asking, “You know what, how bad could it be?”. I hated the 2003 remake very much, and it was the sixth film I reviewed on this blog. I gave it a half star. I watched the prequel to the remake and reviewed it a while later, and it was…slightly better. Slightly. I gave it one star. Then, about a year before it came out, I read about a movie called Texas Chainsaw 3D. Not only was it going to discard the remake and its prequel, not only would it be disregarding the original’s sequels (none of which I have seen), not only would it be a direct sequel to the original, but it would be doing its best to stay true to the spirit of the original. It sounded like it had serious potential. But when it came out and was even more slammed by critics than the remake, I thought, “Wait, what? It failed? How? Why? Okay, it failed, I guess.” I forgot about it for about a year and a half, and watched it near the end of 2014, a few months after I had watched the original for the first time. And it quashed any hopes I had for the redemption of this franchise. I personally think it’s as bad, and in some cases actually worse, than the 2003 remake. That bad.
The movie starts with a voiceover during the opening credits by Sally Hardesty, the lone survivor of the original TCSM. And the chick they got to replace Marilyn Burns is worthless. I’m sorry, did I call it a voiceover? I meant a few seconds of traumatized rambling.
We then get a recap of the deaths of Kirk, Pam, Jerry, and Franklin, a few seconds of the dinner scene, and Sally’s eventual escape from Leatherface’s family. And how do they do this? Well, they just play footage from the original TCSM. It’s the equivalent of a crappy popup book. Oh, and this sequence is filled with scaaaaary music, instrumental stings with each kill, a few moments of slow-mo, and some quick, hyperactively edited cuts. Tobe Hooper would be ashamed. You know what else this is an equivalent of? It’s the equivalent of text on the screen saying “Remember what movie this is? This is a TCSM movie! See?” Also, it’s very distracting to have audio from 2013 play alongside audio and video from 1974. To understand the stupidity of this technical error, Rambo: The Video Game, a game that made many “Worst Games of 2014” lists, made this same error by ripping its dialogue, voice acting, and soundtrack directly from the first three Rambo movies.
Transition to the second part of the prologue. Literally hours after the original film ended, Sheriff Hooper (Barry) drives to Leatherface’s family’s house. This Sheriff loves playing with the flashing lights on his police car, as he keeps constantly switching them on and off between shots. Also, is the Sheriff driving a Dodge Diplomat? I could have sworn that car was made in 1977, not 1973.
When I first saw the house in this movie, I realized that it looked very little like the house from the original. Sure, the door has the chainsaw marks in it from the original, but they’re around the doorknob area and are too small. In the original, Leatherface chainsawed mostly the top of the door, even taking out a massive chunk. Also, I could have sworn that that part of Texas does not have a pine forest near it.
There’s actually a reason for all of these aesthetic inconsistencies. This movie was not shot in Texas. It was shot in Shreveport, Louisiana. Effing hacks.
The Sheriff arrives at the house and calls for the Gas Station Guy, whose name is Drayton, last name Sawyer (Bill Moseley cameo, replacing Jim Siedow, who is dead; he played Chop Top in TCSM Part 2 and Otis Driftwood in Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects. Dammit.). The Sawyer family apparently consists of several other people, three of which I believe are intentionally reminiscent of the Robertsons from Duck Dynasty, as they are large-bearded men, dressed for the outdoors, and are wielding rifles. The Sheriff tells Drayton that he and his family are in serious hot water, and that he needs to send out Leatherface, whose real name is Jed. After consulting with the apparent family patriarch (Gunnar Hansen cameo in his last film appearance before his death), Drayton makes the Sheriff promise that he will get Jed a good lawyer. The Sheriff agrees, and Drayton goes to get Jed. Oh, and John Dugan, who played Grandpa in the original, cameos here reprising his role.
Before I continue: first, I know that Leatherface’s real name is Jed, but I’m just going to keep addressing him as Leatherface. Second, I’m glad that I never checked out the TCSM sequels, because Bill Moseley is a completely worthless replacement for Jim Siedow. His voice is wrong, he looks too young, and his lines do not match his character.
Anyway, Drayton goes to get Leatherface, but a large group of townspeople led by Burt Hartman (Rae) arrive at the house, much to the displeasure of the Sheriff. These thugs are clearly intent on getting Leatherface, but they clearly show that they want more than that, as they light two Molotov cocktails and toss them into the house. The Sawyers get their guns and start firing on the townspeople. A firefight ensues, the Sawyers are killed, and the house burns to the ground. The Sheriff is pissed at the townspeople, but Burt drops this line:
BURT: Can’t get around the Good Book.
Of course. Hollywood has to be politically correct by portraying the non-Sawyer Texans as gun-toting, bloodthirsty bastards that use the Bible to justify the atrocities that they commit. You know, Hollywood, if gun-owning, conservative Christians in America were really as violent as you say they are, then anyone but gun-owning, conservative Christians would not exist in America. Think about that the next time you say that the NRA sponsors terrorism.
Also, it’s really insulting to fans of the original to see these characters go out in such a contrived way. I know that I should feel satisfied that such monstrous characters are gone from the world, but the lesser of two evils is still evil, murder is still murder, and murder is not justice. There is a major difference between being a hero and being a vigilante. That’s why even though I like Batman, I still find him to be a hypocrite, with major emphasis on his latest incarnation in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Let me rephrase that: I can understand what Batman normally does: he goes around the law to distribute justice; he beats up criminals and pretty much gift-wraps them for the police. Rarely is murder involved. But what Burt and the townspeople have done crosses the line. They didn’t bend or go around the law; they broke it. They deliberately ignored what was lawful and enacted their own twisted version of justice. Speaking of the law, why did the Sheriff not prosecute Burt and the townspeople for obstruction of justice? At least Batman tries to be just. Whether or not his methods actually are just is another question entirely and can be discussed elsewhere.
Anyway, one man finds a baby somewhere in the wreckage. Snatching her from the clutches of her dead mother, this guy and his wife plan to adopt the baby. He gives the baby to his wife, and joins the rest of the group of townspeople to get their picture taken for the newspaper.
Cut to the title sequence that may as well have a sign on it that says “Eff you, we’re 3D!”
Transition to the present day in the meatpacking section of a supermarket. We meet our main character, Heather (Daddario), who was the baby that the one guy found at the Sawyer massacre back in 1973. And of course her character has a job as a butcher. Wait, why is she not wearing a plastic cap in her hair to prevent her hair from falling into the meat as supermarket policies require?
And I couldn’t help but notice that her apron doesn’t even fit around her tits. Call me a pervert if you wish, but this isn’t entirely my fault. Her character is heavily sexualized. We never see any actual nudity in the movie, but Daddario’s large, large, large jugs are always prominently on display. Even the camera is itching to have her show something. I found myself unable to take her seriously, as her sexualization comes as a major detriment to her character, as the script desperately wants her to be eye candy, but is too ashamed to actually show anything, also forgetting to develop her as a character. Hell, by slasher movie logic, she should die. The movie handles her character with the maturity of a thirteen-year-old boy who wants to stick his schwansen into anything he sees. Though this movie heavily sexualizes Daddario, this is the usual fare for her. Even in San Andreas, easily the best movie she’s been in, her boobs were always front and center, though her character was barely sexualized at all. But even then, with The Rock giving her CPR at the climax, I could tell that Johnson was resisting the urge to cop a feel. The only movies I remember in Daddario’s career that didn’t sexualize her were the two Percy Jackson movies. Also, call me stupid, but I find Daddario’s face to be way too Hollywood, way too airbrushed, and covered in makeup. It’s obvious that she’s an actress who’s been cast to appeal to the pre/pubescent boys and horny old men in the audience.
Did I really just spend an entire paragraph detailing that I can’t take Daddario’s character seriously because of her sex appeal? Wow, I’m weird.
Also, Daddario’s character was born in 1973, but the movie takes place in 2013. Heather should be at least forty years old by now, but Alexandra Daddario was only twenty-six when this movie was made. Is the movie seriously asking us to suspend that much disbelief?
Though we meet Heather’s friend Nikki (Raymonde), who will fill the position of Whore, we then transition to Heather in the middle of starting to undress while making out with her boyfriend Ryan (Songz), who will fill the position of Black Guy. This will be the first instance of teasing us with the promise of boobs. Yes, I said that it’s a tease, because just as Ryan starts kissing her little S-shaped birthmark on her left boob (remember the birthmark. It will be important later.), there is a knock at the door. It turns out that there is a letter for Heather. Heather reads it, and learns a terrible truth: SHE WAS ADOPTED!
JOHNNY CAGE (Mortal Kombat): NOOOOOOOOOOO!
Okay, that’s not all. But she is distressed to learn that her parents had been lying to her for her whole life. Who wouldn’t be? But Heather learns that her estranged grandmother, Verna Carson, has left Heather her estate in her will. Heather plans to go down to the house in Newt, Texas to claim it, but when Nikki, Ryan, and her other friend Kenny (Malicki-Sanchez), who will fill in the role of Blank Slate, notice her noticeably badly acted distress at having been adopted, they offer to join her on her trip. Heather accepts, and they begin their journey to Newt, Texas.
Don’t bother trying to find Newt, Texas on a map. The closest you’ll get is Newton, which is about one-hundred-and-fifty-ish miles northeast of Houston.
After a terrible song plays on the radio, they stop at a gas station that night, where they accidentally hit a shifty-looking hitchhiker named Darryl (Sipos), who will fill in the role of Shifty Guy. I don’t know why this is treated as a jumpscare. And apparently it’s only raining over Darryl and not behind the van. Darryl explains that his girlfriend dumped him and that he needs to get back to Shreveport. He offers the group some cash to give him a ride, to which they accept, explaining that they need to stop at Heather’s new house first. As they leave the gas station, a country song plays, singing about how if you’re a sinner, “God will f—k you up.” As if this movie’s hatred of the southern USA wasn’t ungodly obvious.
As they enter into the city of Newt, Texas, the movie feels fit to add a shot of a dead armadillo on the side of the road that is another forced reminder that this is a crapass sequel to one of the greatest and scariest horror films of all time. The group arrives at a gate to Heather’s new house. The house is off in the trees somewhere. The group gets out of the car and – okay, who’s the pervert who was hired to design the costumes? That shirt that Heather is wearing is cut off, showing her midriff. She’s clearly not wearing a bra, considering just how jiggly those jugs are. The camera is itching to look up under that shirt of Heather’s and get himself a look at some admittedly fantastic boobs. After about a minute of waiting, Heather’s grandma’s lawyer, Farnsworth, shows up, introduces himself, tells Heather a little info about the house, gives her a ring of keys that unlock everything in the house, and shows that the button combination to open the gate is 0819, specifically telling Heather to think of it as a date: August 19th. Gee, I wonder if this was the day that the Sawyer family was massacred. Farnsworth gives Heather a letter from her grandma that he insists she read as soon as possible. Heather agrees and thanks Farnsworth for his time, and Farnsworth leaves. The group heads in through the gate and drives up to the house. Heather, of course, doesn’t bother reading the letter.
The group arrives at the house and damn, that’s a nice-looking estate. It’s a lovely house filled with various antique items. While the rest of the group looks around, Heather goes out to the small graveyard out front, of which the tombstones are all marked with Sawyer names. Uh, I’m pretty sure that the Sawyers would not have been allowed a proper burial. Weren’t their bodies burned? The group decides to go into town and do some shopping. Kenny plans to cook some nice, juicy steak for dinner that night. I could definitely go for a nice, juicy, extra bloody, medium rare sirloin steak. Darryl offers to stay at the house and clean up a bit. They allow him to do so, and they go into town.
Uh, Heather? Why exactly would you leave your new house full of antiques and valuables in the hands of a complete stranger that looked shifty even when you picked him up?
And I don’t want to say “I told you so”, but I told you so. In fact, the instant the group leaves, Darryl immediately starts ransacking the house, loading up all the silver and valuables he can find into a large sack. But as he’s robbing the place, he comes across a secret door that leads to a staircase down into a basement. He goes downstairs to find a wine cellar, but then encounters a metal door. He tries to open that, thinking that there’s a bunch of valuable crap behind it, but he fails. He looks around for tools to pry it open, but as he does so, Leatherface (Yeager) shows up, accompanied by a jumpscare, and kills Darryl with a sledgehammer.
As if it couldn’t be more obvious that Leatherface lives there. How exactly did he survive the massacre back in 1973? How has he just been sitting around in this house for the past forty years? How has no one ever found out that he’s down there?
Also, Leatherface’s face mask looks more like a mask rather than a face. Come on.
Anyway, the rest of the group is away, shopping for various things. Heather is taking a look at bags of charcoal briquettes to buy. A strapping young cop about Heather’s age named Carl (Eastwood) shows up and recommends a particular brand of charcoal, obviously trying to hit on her but failing, as his acting skills are entirely worthless. However, Burt Hartman, who is now the mayor of Newt, shows up and says hi. When Burt learns that Heather has inherited Verna Carson’s house, he offers to buy it off of her. She refuses, and carries her bag of coal to the group’s van without paying for it, yet no one notices. I think that this was an error on the scriptwriters’ part. The group leaves, leaving Burt particularly miffed. Is it just me, or 1) has Burt not aged a day since the 1973 Sawyer massacre, and 2) is Paul Rae as Burt trying to mimic Gene Hackman’s performance as Little Bill Daggett in Unforgiven?
The group arrives back at Heather’s new house and are, of course, shocked that Darryl ransacked the place. But for some reason, they don’t call the police to report the robbery, and they just forget about it and start partying. Kenny starts cooking some steak, and Heather continues to explore the house. Kenny forgets about the steak for some reason, explores the house, encounters the secret door, goes downstairs, and, in a freaking jumpscare, is attacked by Leatherface, who snags him with a meathook and drags him downstairs. Kenny rips up some of the carpet on the stairs as he is pulled into the basement.
Ryan is at the pool table, playing against himself, with one of Trey Songz’s actual songs playing, when Nikki comes in and tells him that there’s something “f—ked up” out in a barn near the house. Ryan follows her there, only to enter into a stall and see a bottle of wine and two glasses. He turns around to ask Nikki what’s up, but she’s busy undressing. They have sex offscreen. Ryan has cheated on Heather, but she never actually finds out for reasons that will be explained later. This means that this isn’t a subplot – it’s filler. That’s just shameful.
This house is a fantastic place…for smoking, drinking, partying, screwing around, and screwing.
Heather goes up to Verna’s room and opens a closet to reveal rows of dresses. She takes one out and is about to check out how it looks on her. She shuts the closet door, but the mirror on it jumpscares us by showing Verna’s corpse behind Heather. Strangely, Verna is holding a glass of ice water with ice in it that hasn’t melted. Heather is startled. She runs down to the kitchen only to see Leatherface chopping the fingers off of a severed arm. After an awkward wide-angle lens zoom-in on her face, she tries to run, but Leatherface knocks her out and drags her into the basement. (sarcasm) No. No, don’t. No, I don’t wanna go. No. Please don’t take me to your dungeon. No. Oh, no. Oh, please just leave me alone. No. Oh, no.
After a dreadful attempt to recreate the original soundtrack by just repeating the sound of an old-timey camera bulb flashing, Heather wakes up to see Kenny on a table, and Leatherface with a chainsaw in hand. Kenny tries to attack Leatherface, but Leatherface gets the better of him, lifts him up, and shanks him on a hanging meat hook. Leatherface grabs his chainsaw and horizontally saws Kenny in half. Though the shots of his upper torso upward show that Kenny is thrashing around violently, the shots of his lower half downward show that he is almost completely still, revealing the shamefully obvious use of a dummy. The intestines don’t even fall out when the bisection is done. This is also the first scene in which the movie rubs its 3D all over your face. Leatherface’s chainsaw intentionally points at the screen as he saws Kenny in half.
Heather gets up and runs out of the basement and – wait, what? When did the carpet get fixed? Kenny ripped some of it up when he was dragged downstairs, and now, it’s back in place. Chased by Leatherface, Heather runs out of the house, trips, and falls down the stone steps. Good luck not breaking one or more bones. She doesn’t, and she runs to the graveyard, where a grave has been dug and a coffin lies at the bottom. Heather gets into the coffin, and Leatherface gets to the graveyard. Yes, Leatherface. Don’t look in the coffin. Don’t look in the one coffin you dug up. Don’t look in the coffin made out of a chainsaw’s favorite food. Don’t look in the one coffin that’s so obviously Heather’s hiding place. Leatherface may be mentally stunted, but he ain’t stupid. And in another shot that screams, “Eff you, we’re 3D!”, Leatherface starts chainsawing the coffin open. By the way, when Leatherface revs his chainsaw to begin chopping up the coffin, I’m not kidding when I say that it roars like a lion. I haven’t seen such a misplaced lion roar since that scene in Twister when a tornado roared like a lion.
Over in the barn, Nikki and Ryan have finished screwing in the barn like a pair of horny horses, and they hear the commotion in the graveyard. Nikki shouts something, and Leatherface hears. Leatherface runs toward the barn, being in remarkable shape for being presumably over sixty years old. Ryan and Nikki make it into the barn and shut and bar the door. Leatherface starts sawing the door (more 3D crap), but Nikki inexplicably sees a truck parked in the barn, which inexplicably has a double-barrel shotgun in it, which is inexplicably loaded, even though Nikki never checks to see if it is. Nikki points the shotgun at the door (more 3D crap) and presumably at Leatherface, and drops this poorly thought up line:
NIKKI: Welcome to Texas, motherf—ker!
Come on, scriptwriters! Did you not remember that Leatherface has been living in that damn house for the past forty years?
Nikki blasts Leatherface through the barn door, strangely enough not killing him. But she and Ryan hear the sounds of Leatherface’s chainsaw revving, and back off from the door. But then the group’s van bursts through the door. Why was it making chainsaw sounds before it burst through the door? Because to me, it looks like a fakeout. Ryan gets in the driver’s seat, and he, Heather, and Nikki drive away. But the gate out front is closed. Ryan floors the accelerator in an attempt to get through it, but the gate holds fast, the van is damaged, and the engine shuts off. We get an allegedly suspenseful sequence as Ryan tries to get the van started, the group waits for the gate to open, and Leatherface gets ever closer to the van. But the van starts and the gate opens, and Leatherface gets to the van just as Ryan floors it. Leatherface hits something on the side of the van with his chainsaw, and as the van drives along, God reaches down and flips the van over. Hey, it’s the only explanation I can think of. The van is now upside-down. Ryan is dead, though his manner of death is unintelligible because this scene is lit inadequately. Leatherface runs up to the van and begins sawing at it. In two shots that are obviously more 3D crap, Leatherface shoves his saw into the van and scores a gash on Nikki’s thigh. Heather gets out of the van, promises Nikki that she will return for her, distracts Leatherface with a very poorly conceived and very oddly delivered
HEATHER: Hey! You country f—k!
and runs away. Leatherface chases after her.
Have I mentioned before how much I hate (yes, hate) stereotypes?
In a sequence that completely forgets what made the chase sequences in the original ungodly tense, Heather runs, falling not once, not twice, but three times. She climbs over a fence into a carnival. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that this is happening around Halloween. Heather runs past the exit to the carnival’s “Haunted House”. Leatherface gets to the fence and just saws through it. Leatherface runs past the carnival patrons exiting the haunted house. The patrons are being chased by a guy dressed like Pighead from Saw who is carrying a chainsaw. Yes. Because the last few Saw movies were soooo popular. Yes. Saw VII was sooooooo successful with its nine percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “Pighead” comes face to face with Leatherface. Thinking that it’s just a guy in a costume, “Pighead” asks Leatherface, “Wanna play a game?” Leatherface revs his chainsaw, causing “Pighead” to run off, and he resumes his pursuit of Heather, running past maybe fifty or sixty potential victims. Heather grabs onto the Ferris wheel and is carried up. But she forgets that all Ferris wheels come down, and Leatherface is waiting for her. But Carl shows up, points his gun at Leatherface, and tells him to put down the saw. Leatherface throws his eff-you-we’re-3D-chainsaw at Carl and misses. Patrick Bateman would be ashamed. Carl gets Heather down from the Ferris wheel, and Leatherface disappears, leaving his chainsaw behind for some reason.
Carl takes Heather to the police station, where she tells the Sheriff about Leatherface. This Sheriff is still the same sheriff from back in 1973. He also has not aged a day. But hey, he and Farnsworth are the only likable characters in the movie. It’s a pity they didn’t have larger roles. The Sheriff sends an officer to check out the house. Heather sits in a back room, showing that she really does not know how to emotion right. Carl brings her a new shirt, which she has no idea how to wear modestly. It’s a button-up shirt, and she only buttons two. Come on, Heather.
Burt arrives at the station, and the Sheriff tells Burt about Leatherface. Burt is obviously pissed to learn that Leatherface is still alive. The Sheriff inexplicably gets out the massive file on the Sawyer massacre and places it on a table. The officer that the Sheriff sent arrives at the house, having told the Sheriff that Nikki is not in the wrecked van. Burt interrupts their communication when the Sheriff says that he’s going to send backup. Burt tells the officer to get out his iPhone, turn on Facetime so Burt and the Sheriff can see what’s going on, and proceed into the house. The officer does so, even though we can clearly see that the officer just has his camera app open and that there is no Facetime call being made. Seriously, you can see the blue square in the center of the screen. Also, this is the only time we see technology like this in this ridiculous timeline. Burt and the Sheriff verbally guide the officer through the house. He starts to feel increasingly skittish going into such a dangerous situation by himself. By the way, we get a shameful “only a rat” jumpscare.
As this is happening, Heather has discovered the file on the Sawyer massacre, and she starts going through it. What was the point of having the prologue if Heather was going to find the evidence anyway? Either that, or what was the point of Heather discovering all that evidence if you were just going to show all that in the prologue? Anyway, Heather learns of the circumstances surrounding the Sawyer massacre. The Sheriff had ordered that Jed be turned over to him, and the Sawyers had initially complied, but then the Burt-led townspeople arrived and screwed the situation up, resulting in a massacre (misspelled “xmassacre”) and the burning down of the house. However, as Heather goes through the evidence, there are some obvious issues. First, when Heather reads the newspaper praising the townspeople as “Local Heroes!”, the newspaper print date is August 19th. That explains the date being the combo for the gate to Heather’s house. However, if this event actually happened on August 19th, the newspaper would have been printed and distributed on August 20th. Second, when Heather goes through the list of bodies, the Hitchhiker’s name is listed as “Bubba Sawyer”, even though in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, the Hitchhiker’s real name was Nubbins, not Bubba. Leatherface’s real name was Bubba. Before I get to the third issue, I will mention that there are two “John Does” and one “Jane Doe”, referring to the cannibalized remains of Kirk, Pam, and Jerry. Okay, third issue. Drayton Sawyer is listed as the father of Heather’s birth mother, Loretta, thereby making Drayton Heather’s grandfather and Leatherface Heather’s great uncle, rather than Heather’s cousin as the plot will tell you.
Back to the officer in the house. He makes it into the basement. He encounters several rooms before going into one of them and seeing a giant horizontal freezer. He sees the freezer shake and goes to open it. Nikki bursts out of it and the officer inadvertently shoots Nikki in the head, not only killing her but causing me to yell, “Oh, come on!” at the screen. Seriously, this should not have happened. Police officers are trained not to put their finger on the trigger in case of a situation like that. Soon after that, the call fails and Burt and the Sheriff lose contact with the officer. The officer can’t take it anymore and starts to leave. He makes it to the kitchen before Leatherface and a jumpscare appear behind him and hack him to death with a hatchet. Burt and the Sheriff, having lost contact with the officer, go to find Heather. But Heather is gone, having left the Sawyer massacre file all over the table and having written “murderers” on the newspaper. Burt is obviously pissed off.
Heather walks to the nearest pay phone and contacts Farnsworth, who tells her to meet him at a particular bar.
Cut to Leatherface at home, in the basement, de-face-ing the officer. And if you thought the terrible CGI gore effects were bad earlier, get a load of how bad the practical effects are – when Leatherface peels the face off the officer, the actor’s real face is obviously just painted red. This is bringing back bad memories of the skinning scene in the beginning of Train. After Leatherface removes the officer’s face, he doesn’t even sew it on his own face. He just re-sews on the mask from earlier. Oh, and what we see of Leatherface’s face is not deformed at all. Had the violence in this movie been done well, this scene could have mirrored Walter graphically cutting his face in the The Mask graphic novel.
Heather meets Farnsworth at the bar. Farnsworth is particularly annoyed that Heather never read Verna’s letter. Farnsworth also tells Heather that he knew about Leatherface, that Leatherface is her cousin, and that her birthmark is actually a burn mark of the family sigil. If Farnsworth knew about Leatherface, then why didn’t he do anything about it? Heather and Farnsworth don’t have much time to talk, though, as Burt has arrived at the bar and is making a beeline for Heather. Heather grabs a knife from the table (why an actual sharp one? You’re not supposed to have one of those at your table unless you get one with your meal! Oh wait, this is the South) and runs outside, but is hit by the car of one of Burt’s goons. The goon, named Ollie, gets out and attempts to grab Heather, but she slashes him across the face with her knife and runs off. She gets little ways up the road and runs into Carl. Strangely, though the car has Texas license plates, it clearly has Louisiana registration in the windshield, again revealing that this movie was almost entirely shot in Louisiana. Heather tells him what’s happening and asks him to take her to Farnsworth. He gets Heather in the back of his police car and drives right past Farnsworth, much to the anger of Heather. Burt calls Carl, Carl tells him that he has Heather, Burt tells Carl to take her out to the old slaughterhouse, and Carl addresses Burt as his father. Heather is particularly pissed.
Back home, Leatherface inexplicably grabs his second chainsaw and begins heading over to the old slaughterhouse.
Farnsworth runs to the police station and tells the Sheriff what’s going on. Every police car is tracked by GPS, so the Sheriff is easily able to pinpoint Carl’s car’s location and guess that Carl’s taking Heather to the old slaughterhouse. The Sheriff then drives out there himself.
En route to the old slaughterhouse, Heather suddenly makes a very odd character change: into a psycho. Now that she knows that she’s a Sawyer, she begins acting crazy, even giving us a 3D knife jumpscare. You know what? Alexandra Daddario could play a decent Catherine-Tramell-from-Basic–Instinct-esque villainess. You know, a psychopath who uses her sexuality to get what she wants, and who gets off by killing men during sex. That is, until a Nick-Curran-esque detective crosses her path.
Heather and Carl arrive at the old slaughterhouse. Burt and Ollie are waiting for them. They rip open her shirt to reveal no bra underneath (no nipples are shown, so there’s technically no nudity) and string her up as bait for Leatherface, again showing that this movie has the sexual maturity of a thirteen-year-old-boy. They go outside to intercept Leatherface, but Leatherface appears with a jumpscare behind Heather. Though he is initially about to kill her with his 3D chainsaw, he sees Heather’s birthmark and touches it with his 3D finger. Heather then drops these lines:
HEATHER: It’s me! It’s Heather! It’s your cousin!
Uh, Heather? Now that you know you’re adopted, have you ever considered that maybe Heather is your adopted name rather than your birth name? Because as the plot will tell you later, Heather is not her birth name. Leatherface does not know her as Heather.
Regardless of her name, Leatherface cuts the ropes holding Heather. But Burt and Ollie come in and start beating up Leatherface. Ollie drags Heather off to the side to deal with her as Burt starts pushing Leatherface toward a gigantic meat grinder. Heather kills Ollie with a pitchfork she inexplicably finds and tosses Leatherface’s chainsaw to him, saying
HEATHER: Do your thing, cuz.
Leatherface quickly gets the better of Burt and slashes both of his Achilles tendons. He forces Burt toward the meat grinder. The Sheriff shows up, and Burt is relieved at his arrival, telling the Sheriff to shoot Leatherface. Burt has now been forced into the meat grinder, which is just a big hole in the floor with the actual grinder in the bottom, but is managing to hang onto the edge. The Sheriff stands by as Leatherface saws Burt’s hands off, sending Burt sliding into the meat grinder and getting chopped up. And no, it happens nowhere near as brutally as it may sound. In fact, the gore flies like it was digitally added in post-production. Heck, every death has this happen with terrible CGI gore. It’s very distracting.
SHERIFF: Can’t argue with the Good Book.
All of the deaths so far have been unnecessarily bloody and unrealistic thus far, but Burt’s death is actually not gory or realistic enough. Try wrapping your head around that. Also, I’m pretty sure that Burt’s death would have been more satisfying if his character had been more developed. Actually, he wouldn’t have needed to have been developed – all we would have needed would have been for Burt to be an insufferable jackass. Oh, and I just remembered a plothole that involves Burt: if Burt had had such a hellbent vendetta against the Sawyers, why was Verna Carson never targeted?
And then the Sheriff lets Heather and Leatherface go for some reason. WHAT?! Why is the Sheriff okay with Leatherface and Heather killing Burt and Ollie? Why does he just let them go? This is the same problem I had with Burt and the townspeople killing the Sawyers in the beginning: the lesser of two evils is still evil, and murder is still murder!
Also, where has Carl run off to? Carl brought Heather to the slaughterhouse, Burt told him to stay out there because no lawman should witness what Burt and Ollie are about to do, and then Carl just disappeared. Where has he gone? Why did he not go after Heather and Leatherface as they exited the slaughterhouse?
Having warmed up to Leatherface inexplicably quickly despite him having killed her friends earlier that night, Heather exits the slaughterhouse with Leatherface, and they walk home. Heather starts cleaning Leatherface up, and reaches toward him to touch his face. Leatherface reaches up and roughly intercepts Heather’s arm, jumpscaring her and us. Nobody touches the mask, beeyotch. Leatherface goes downstairs to the basement.
Heather finally, and I mean finally, starts reading Verna’s letter. Through a voiceover by Verna that cameos Marilyn Burns (who played Sally in the original), we learn that Heather’s real name is Edith Rose Sawyer. Jedediah “Leatherface” Sawyer lives in the basement, and is Edith’s cousin. As long as Edith cares for him, he will protect her. What a casual way of explaining to your estranged granddaughter that a homicidal chainsaw-wielding maniac lives in the basement. With a measly letter, no less.
Edith goes down to the basement. Leatherface is there. Edith picks up the food tray by Leatherface’s door and takes it upstairs. Leatherface slams the sliding metal door. Cut to credits.
An after credits scene shows Edith’s adopted parents showing up at her house intending to take Edith’s inheritance for themselves. However, Leatherface bursts out of the front door with his chainsaw to kill them.
For those of you who thought the remake and its prequel were the worst things to happen to the franchise, look no farther, because this is worse. It’s a cut below the rest.
This movie as a whole is the equivalent of a small dog trying to pass a sharp peach seed.
This movie was the final film credit of both Gunnar Hansen and Marilyn Burns before their untimely deaths. What a terrible film to end their careers on.
The story never ceases to amaze with its illogicality and its disrespect of its license. It never tries to be anything more than a clichéd, illogical plot that features illogical characters making illogical decisions. And the illogicality of these decisions makes the third act practically comical. For example, Heather/Edith is supposed to sympathize with a psycho killer that’s killed her friends and is living in her basement, but she can’t even wear a modest shirt in a modest manner.
Yes, I did say that Leatherface was a psycho killer. Even though Leatherface was a twentysomething guy with the mind of a child who killed Sally’s friends because he felt threatened and misinterpreted the situation as a home invasion in the original TCSM, in this sequel, he’s essentially the same character as he is in the remake: a homicidal maniac. Talk about a betrayal of such an interesting character. And what was with the attempt to somehow make Leatherface an antihero? Not only is it wholly unnecessary, but it is completely misguided and nonsensical.
It’s hard to believe that the gun-toting, Christian, Texan, Burt-led townspeople are supposed to be more hateful than the Sawyer family. The lesser of two evils is still evil, and it is unbelievably difficult to tell which is the lesser.
As if the rest of the characters could possibly work either. I know that I addressed them by their names in this review, but you shouldn’t bother trying to learn them, because their sole purpose is to die. Just round up a small group of coed teens or college students, make sure that each one has a particular vice such as partaking in nonmarital sex, using illegal drugs, or just being a craphead, show them in various states of undress, and kill them in ways that are no longer innovative. It’s the four Cs of slasher movies: cleavage, coke, crapheads, and carnage.
And when none of the characters are likable, the movie ceases to become scary. A massive part of what makes a movie scary is having characters that we care about be forced into terrifying situations. And that is much of what made this movie fail to be scary. Sure, we see our characters in what could have been scary situations, but we don’t care for them, and not only are we not scared, we’re bored. That is fatal to a horror movie. That’s what made Paranormal Inactivity painfully unscary to me. While Paranormal Inactivity’s characters may have been developed slightly, they were particularly unlikable. Katie was a whiny, idiotic bimbo, and Meekah was an annoying asshat who never knew when to put his damn camera away. It was because Katie and Meekah were so unlikable that the allegedly scary scenes they were in were no longer scary. In fact, I was counting the minutes until they finally, blessedly, died. This is what killed Texas Chainsaw 3D for me. Its characters were so unlikable that I wanted them to die.
Even the violence that could have been palpable was so poorly executed, and used such shoddy CGI gore.
Even the look of the movie was bad. In the original, the cinematography showed the evolution of color as day turned into night. This movie’s color scheme was predominantly grey and brown.
Of course, the bad look of the movie could have been just that, but it was further ruined by its terrible 3D. There are movies that have incredible 3D that really opens up the movie, its environments, its creatures, and allows its audience to become even more immersed in the movie. Films like How to Train Your Dragon, Avatar, Gravity, Journey to the Center of the Earth, the phenomenal Dredd, and even films like Up and Coraline executed their 3D adroitly. But then we have films where their 3D was completely unnecessary, like Thor, The Last Airbender, The Great Gatsby, Clash and Wrath of the Titans, 47 Ronin, and Star Wars VII. Of course, there was that certain era in the eighties where 3D was cheap and looked awful and tacky. Films like Friday the 13th Part 3, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, Jaws 3D, and Amityville 3D. Even films today replicate that, such as Resident Evil: Afterlife, Piranha 3D and 3DD, Spy Kids 3D, RIPD, and The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl. But then we have films that have straight-up bad 3D, like Avengers: Age of Ultron, the remake of Point Break, Insurgent, John Carter, Gulliver’s Travels, G-Force, the remake of Conan the Barbarian, and the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland. Texas Chainsaw 3D is one of them. However, bad 3D doesn’t always make a bad film, as with Avengers: Age of Ultron, Piranha 3D, Thor, The Last Airbender, Wrath of the Titans, John Carter, and the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland. Rather, poorly written stories, undeveloped and unlikable characters, worthless acting, sloppy and awkward writing, a shaky script, and terrible camerawork make a bad film. And Texas Chainsaw 3D is exactly that.
All it cared about was making money off of a well-known license.
If this is the best that these people can come up with, then it’s time to put this franchise to rest and move on. It’s time to bury the chainsaw (ho, ho) and come up with something new, because this franchise is deader than the characters in this film. Have they ever gotten the idea that maybe TCSM never needed a sequel?
Before I go, here’s one last little tidbit: both Alexandra Daddario and Trey Songz admitted to having never seen the original before starting work on this.
Final verdict: .5 out of 5 stars.