The Bottom Line: Nuttin like a chainsaw to get your attention
Movie synopsis: A van of young adults travels down a lonely Texas road, picks up a hitchhiker. The mumbling young woman is deranged and beaten, pulls a gun from her nether regions and kills herself. In an attempt to find authorities, the group of young people fall under the hands and become the prey of the antics of the Hewitt family and enter the legend known as Leatherface, or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Im not much of a fan of re-makes, finding few of them that equal or top the original release. But since I was treating myself to a gore weekend I decided this was a natural addition. In some ways I liked this released more than the older version and in some ways I preferred the older one. Ive seen the 1970's version of TCM probably 20 times. There is just something raw and gritty about the movie, perhaps the camera action or the suddenness of the attacks.
In this release the filming seems a bit crisper and although they didnt use as much visual violence and gore as the older film, the idea of the violence and gore was prevalent. Guess Im funny that way, but to find a bucket of blood or bottle of eyeballs is just as harrowing as watching the body being drained of blood or the eyeballs being gouged out.
They kept the story as true as possible to the Tobe Hooper screenplay but they made the kids involved a whole lot dumber. In addition, I liked the introduction of the real life sheriff leading a camera person through the dreaded Hewitt estate and down into the furnace room. That jerky camera work and faded pictures made one believe it was actual footage. But it also stunk of Blair Witch and anything with that taint on it rankles.
Like I said, the kids involved this time were dumber. They appeared an older group than the 1970's gang. Even one couple, Kemper and Erin, was in a fairly committed relationship. They werent just teenagers out for a joy ride that goes bad, they were traveling to a concert. Of course they were stoners, as if that is an excuse for what happened, and they showed some sign of compassion with the young girl found walking down the road. Not all of them, naturally, because you needed the opposing forces to make the story even more bleak in its result.
Anyway, being older, they should have been a little more savvy to the goings on around them and realized from the giddy-up that something was sour. OK, Ill give them some leeway, it guess it would throw your game off if the hitchhiker you picked up stuck a gun in her mouth and blew her head apart. That might make you a tad lax about personal safety and so forth, but still .......
Interior shots this time around were clearer and the lighting made it possible to enjoy the surroundings instead of having them shaded and darkened. I guess that is a plus if abject hopelessness is your cup of tea. In reality that is the theme of the movie, hopelessness. Most gore movies deal with the swift and sudden death of whoever. For the most part, except for the creepy music, you dont see the bad guy coming until the onslaught and murder.
However, when dealing with a chainsaw, as long as you hear that bone crunching sound revving in your ears, smell the gasoline and oil burning, you know you are in peril. You cant fight it off with a big stick or a groin kick or eye gouge. You cant outrun it, you can only pray it runs out of gas before you do. Of course, not likely in a movie where the title is dedicated to this killing machine.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre is evil in a primal way. You become part of the evil, even if you dont like the movie. Its a rare show of possibilities and those scare me far more than anything because you are dealing with the unleashed human psyche at its most deranged. You are dealing with a persona that has no morals, no bounds, no restrictions and no remorse. And the sad thing, the truly scary thing, is that its possible. Its possible to be traveling down a road and reach this destination, find this being, because they are out there. The ones that find the substance of their live in torturing and killing others. Thats the real scary part, not the movie but the premise of the movie.
Now I dont know if this is really a true account, or at least based on a true account, although both releases state that it is. And in both releases, old Leatherface is never found or caught and the want to leave you with the feeling that he still walks and talks and exists. Frankly I have no trouble believing this is based on true fact, I believe in human, or rather sub-human, monsters, but I dont believe he just sauntered away, never to be heard from again.
The movie carries an R rating for gore, violence and drug use. Directed by Marcus Nispel.
** out of **** Marcus Nispel's "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" takes Tobe Hooper's "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" to almost painfully excessive new highs and lows. As can be expected from a film with the said director attached, there's a great deal of hard work that went into the technical and visual departments; and all such work pays off in the end. However, as with all the Marcus Nispel films, that's about it; he's a good hand when it comes to grotesque but strangely stunning … more
Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) is a terrible film. Unlike the recent remake of Dawn of the Dead (which was good), the new T.C.M. is it's polar opposite (it is bad). I don't know why they even bothered with remaking this classic. Everything that made the original great is missing. Sadistic does not equate frightening or scary it's just stomach churning. The film makers need to take note. The only thing worth while about this flick is Jessica Biel. If you're a huge Jessica Biel fan (and what straight … more
I watched the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" back when I was in college and again when this remake was released in the theaters. I enjoyed it very much, with its camp horror and constant terror throughout. It was a very good film, but it's young remake is also up to the task. Though most people who've watched the original will probably find more wrong with this film than folks who didn't(think old Star Wars vs. new Star Wars), this new version is actually pretty good. … more
This, the 2003 version of, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is an example of a remake done well. The movie stays fairly close to the original film with some minor changes and a different focus in storytelling. The movie opens with some "real" camera footage of police officers searching and investigating the Hewitt family house in Travis County Texas. A narrator introduces the story and a few minutes in one of the police officers hurls at the sights and smells being discovered. … more
HEADCHEESE! Did you know that Tobe Hooper's original 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre was titled "Headcheese", but at the last minute the title was changed to TCM?The original 1974 TCM was filled with a group of hippy teenagers who pick up a hitchhiker,wind up in a backwoods horror chamber where they're held captive, tortured, chopped up, and impaled on meat hooks by a demented cannibalistic family. All the while, the character known as Leatherface who does the maiming,torturing and killing while maniacally … more
I have never seen the original, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one! Let me start saying, that I made a mistake of eatting dinner and watching this movie at the same time. Um, yeah, I could hardly chew, and it was only the beginning. The cast is quickly overwhelmed by the unfamiliar terriotry, and sneaky people who aren't as helpful as they seem. It's in the middle of a hot, gross and sticky summer day. Some of the scenes are brutal, but I did not see any cannibalism in it. … more
The 2003 version ofThe Texas Chainsaw Massacreadheres to the pure and simple slasher movie formula: Introduce a gaggle of sexy young people, make vague gestures to distinguish them--Jessica Biel (Summer Catch) wants to get married and doesn't like pot, so she's our moral compass--then start hacking them to pieces one by one. The visual palette includes grimy crucified dolls, fly-specked pig carcasses, body parts floating in murky jars, a tobacco-chewing redneck sheriff, and many slender beams of sunlight cutting through dank, dusty interiors. The camera lovingly photographs Biel's tank-topped bosom and sculpted abs as she's running in terror from a bloated, chainsaw-wielding, human-skin-wearing maniac. This remake lacks the macabre comedy of the original; it's all about the nauseating sensation of waiting for something to jump out of the dark. Also featuring Eric Balfour (Six Feet Under) and R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket,Mail Call).--Bret Fetzer