Texas Chainsaw picks up right where Texas Chainsaw Massacre left off. The ‘last girl’ from the original makes it to the police station, and word of the horrors committed by the Sawyer clan soon makes it to the redneck townspeople. They promptly form a posse and burn the farmhouse and all its inhabitants to the ground. Or most of them, anyway.
I guess the first thing I should say about Texas Chainsaw is that it’s not that bad. Reviews of the movie certainly lean to the negative; which is a given with any slasher; but Texas Chainsaw has the added misfortune of being the latest entry in a franchise that has been sequeled, prequeled, and rebooted so many times that nothing about it can ever be new again.
If you accept that it isn’t going to be a new take on the concept; that it isn’t going to blow the doors of the genre wide open, and will instead simply be a loving homage to the iconic ’70s slasher; Texas Chainsaw delivers pretty much just what it promises: A cast of attractive young adults make their way to an isolated house, and are done away with one-by-one.
Tobe Hooper, the director of the original film (who praises this one on the back of the Blu-ray cover) followed up his film with a sequel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, which took the form of a comedy. That film did, in fact, subvert the genre, and in many ways was ahead of its time considering how popular the horror-comedy genre has become. And yet, it wasn’t a good sequel. It was a parody.
Texas Chainsaw seeks to correct that with the story of Heather Miller, a doe-eyed girl who was kidnapped from the razed farmhouse as a baby and illegitimately raised by two of the rioters. She, her sexy friend that dresses in stripper clothes, and three frequently shirtless men make their way to a remote house where they find Leatherface, the other survivor from that night, living in the basement.
Here, the movie does take a bit of a turn. Heather, being a Sawyer by blood, is targeted by the remnants of the redneck posse, putting Leatherface in the role of anti-hero (If you ignore the killing of Heather’s friends, which I do because they weren’t very likable). I’m not sure if this entirely works. First, while no fan of vigilantism; having seen the first film, I think that killing the entire family was really the only option. And second, Leatherface clearly doesn’t limit his killing to those that are bad. His occasional justified homicide doesn’t make up for the hundreds of unjustified ones.
Anyway, the only question that matters with this kind of movie is: Are the kills good? The answer to is, ‘they’re not bad.’ The one real down side is the special effects. The practical stuff (props and body parts) looks great, but the added digital blood looks like it was applied by a complete amateur. Maybe it looked better in 3D?
Texas Chainsaw is a completely by-the-book slasher; but if you like that book, then that’s not such a bad thing.