One doesn’t expect exquisite family entertainment from a film called Texas Chainsaw 3D but those who’ve seen the original 1974 movie do hope for some good old slasher thrills. Unfortunately John Lussenhop’s reboot slash quasi sequel cannibalizes the franchise in the clumsiest possible manner. And when Leatherface is made an unlikely ‘hero’ in a groan inducing bit of character dynamics, you want to reach out for a chainsaw and run towards the producers.
Texas Chainsaw 3D arrives on the heels of Michael Bay’s 2003 reboot and 2006’s prequel to the reboot and the new film overlooks both those movies and in turns becomes a sequel to the original while also trying to be a reboot. It’s not hard to smell the whiff of the studio’s desperation to milk a franchise with no regard for creativity. The story picks up where Tobe Hooper’s original left off – the people of a small Texan town unearth the grisly murders that Leatherface’s Sawyer family had committed and in retaliation burn their house down. A few decades later a young woman travels to the very town to inherit some property, unbeknownst to the fact that a gruesome secret from her past would spring up and decimate her and her friends.
The film was not screened for critics and it is quite obvious why. The plotting is painfully clichéd, with the obvious set of hackneyed teenagers on a road trip stumbling across a mass murderer – this seemed new and exciting back in 1974 when the first movie came out but it is atrocious to think that a filmmaker relies on the same old shtick in this day and age and expect a big box office hit. Even Wes Craven, the guy behind the legendary Nightmare on Elm Street movies spoofed the genre with the Scream series decades on, and even those seem dated now. Adding in more gore and playing louder musical cues don’t make a stale genre and decaying storytelling means the least bit exciting. That the 3D is unpleasant is an understatement, that it is not scary is frustrating – in one scene Leatherface runs after a victim through a crowd at a carnival. What’s worse is that the film neither caters to the fans of the franchise nor to newbies. The only apparent consolation in this mess is that four of the cast members from the first two films make an appearance here, but the real succor is its very short runtime.
(First published in MiD Day)