First off, let me assure you I won’t post any spoilers in here, so you can read without learning anything you wouldn’t get from the trailer.
This is being marketed as a ‘direct sequel’ to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 film, indeed we are treated to a couple of minutes of recap footage, in 3D of course, then it starts off just minutes after that film ends.
The film opens with a group of vigilantes burning down the Sawyer house, then discovering a baby in the wreckage. A couple of them take the baby for their own. The cut to years later, and we are with said baby, Heather, now all grown up. She embarks on a trip to find her inheritance from a Grandmother she never knew she had.
I’ll say now; I enjoyed this movie. It was pretty well made and had a strong storyline. That is not to say, however, that it was anything like a perfect movie. It certainly wasn’t. I’ll start with what bugged me about this film.
Firstly, it did not need 3D. It was utterly pointless and had no place in the film. It didn’t even look like it was in 3D for most of the film, except for a couple of blood splatters and a few times where an object was thrown at the screen. There were also the obligatory shots of the lead girls, which were eye-rollingly obvious and mildly exploitative, but all I got from the 3D was a headache. There’s no reason whatsoever for seeing this movie in 3D. The casting was also hit and miss; while Alexandra Daddario did particularly well in her lead role, her supporting cast of friends didn’t do as much. Apparently Tremaine Neverson is a singer, and while I’ve never heard of him, here’s a nice cliche to go with his acting - stick to the day job. There were some really nice cameos, and the older cast produced some good quality stuff.
The typical slasher side-storylines were boring and added nothing whatsoever to the overall movie, aside from a nice nod to Tobe Hooper when the gang pick up a hitchhiker along the way.
Another glaring problem for me is this; if the timings are correct, Heather should be roughly 38 years old. In real life, Alexandra Daddario is 26 and could easily pass for younger. If you’re going to go with this particular storyline, don’t just ignore the age your characters are supposed to be in order to get a more conventionally ‘attractive’ and marketable cast. That’s selling out.
However, the film was not all bad. Yes, the points mentioned above irked me, but overall I enjoyed the film. There were some great moments that were big bonuses for fans of the original; little easter eggs that people who haven’t seen it wouldn’t get, and I won’t spoil it for you by going into detail here, just keep your eyes peeled and you’ll get a few little retro treats.
The main storyline was good, well presented and interesting, and there were a few good jump scares in there too.
The gore for the most part was well done, a little too CGI for my tastes maybe, but it’s a 3D film so I wasn’t expecting anything else. It didn’t shy away from much of the gore or killings, which I appreciated, and throughout a lot of the film there was a nice sinister atmosphere and some good tension build ups. One thing that made the original scary, and made Leatherface an icon, was not just his horrendously creepy look, but also the fact that we hardly saw him in the film. In this version, we saw him a lot. There was just too much screen time for him, which made him less scary each and every time. Add to that the fact that the new incarnation of his mask is nothing like as scary as the first, and we come away with a film that does not hold the creep factor anywhere near as well as its predecessor. It does well though, for a sequel, and even forces the audience to illicit a new feeling for Leatherface; sympathy.
I really loved the ending, I think that was where the film stood out, although I hear there is a remake in the works and that is one of the worst things they could do. It ended strongly, just leave it at that and don’t try to cash in on it. Let it have some integrity, and leave knowing you made a pretty decent film.
All in all, Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a decent film. It is not perfect, and it doesn’t live up to the original in any way, but I really wasn’t expecting it to, so I’m not disappointed by that. The acting is mostly good, and the new take and twist on the storyline impressed me. I’d recommend you go and see this film, but not in 3D. It is not worth any extra money, and even if it’s the same price you won’t gain a single thing from it. My rating is a solid 6/10. You won’t miss anything if you wait for it to come out on Blu-Ray or DVD, but seeing it in theatres was a good experience.
The Good: The storyline, Daddario's acting & the 'easter-eggs' for fans of the original
The Bad: The 3D, supporting cast acting and too much Leatherface
I'd recommend this for:
Any fans of the original, as it's a nice twist on what happens after the camera stopped rolling in '74.
A decent enough entry into the franchise, although one wasn't really needed. See it but there's no rush