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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

A remake of the 1974 film of the same name directed by Marcus Nispell and Michelle Palmer

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Inferior, brutal remake of a superior, classic, and actually quite satirical and hilarious original.

  • Dec 5, 2011
** 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 sights, yet not so much as talented with a pen or even with a camera. Nispel is a talented filmmaker, he has yet to make something that I've found to be truly repulsive or unwatchable, but no amount of craft can redeem the exploitation of violence, gore, and stupidity itself in his largely unsuccessful attempt at remaking one of the finest horror films I've ever laid my eyes on.

If you're looking for positives, I'll give you a few: Nispel has made his own movie - this is nothing like the movie that Hooper made some several decades ago - and as I said, the film looks great. There's also some good acting - a few performers stand out in particular - and the horror at least feels somewhat authentic. However, for every good thing in this version of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", there's maybe ten other elements that are just barely mediocre, and sometimes just bad, bad, bad. Give or take; you'll probably go with the kind of expectations that Nispel is indulgent enough to successfully meet. But then again, that's assuming that you're a newbie to the horror genre, and you haven't seen the original film. If that's the case, then have at it.

The basic plot hasn't changed too much. But to ensure that his reboot of a successful (and again, not-so-successful) horror franchise, Nispel has hired a man named Scott Kosar as his screenwriter, hoping that perhaps his partner in crime can produce something cool and hip and frightening for him to ultimately film at the end of it all. Kosar's script does indeed differ bit-by-bit from the original; with new characters assuming familiar positions, and with a few other things having changed as well. Yet, in spite of this, you can't exactly say "we're not in Texas anymore".

Here's what you're in for. Five friends (Jessica Biel, Eric Bolfour, Jonathan Tucker, Mike Vogel, and Erica Leerhsen) are on their way to a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert when they run into a strange lady on the side of the road who boards their vehicle, says some strange shit, and eventually blows her brains out via a .357 Magnum that she has apparently hid vaginally for quite some time.

The kids are shocked after this and are in hysterics; at long last deciding that perhaps it would be better to just report the suicide to the locals in the area where they had been driving. Their search for help leads them to a run-down store, which then ends them up at a creepy old farmhouse where a genuinely nasty, pissed off amputee resides; seemingly living alone. That would be a false assumption.

You probably know the story from then on; in the farmhouse lives Leatherface, the amputee being his father, and the legendary horror villain wields a chainsaw as his weapon of choice. He's frantic and quite frankly a little confused in the head; it's often theorized that, in the original film, Leatherface killed with that chainsaw in hand out of either emotional anger or fright. Perhaps he was more scared of the victims than the victims were of the assailant; but Nispel is less interested in that side of the character and wishes to explore only the simplest realms of his complex being.

People die, a lot of blood is shed, and cries are heard in the night; blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Marcus Nispel has a grasp on what most slasher movies consider conventions - or rules - to appropriately live by; but he doesn't quite understand how to make his movie stand out. This is a Hollywood horror movie, and it's one of the better ones, no doubt, but I didn't find myself very entertained most of the time. I enjoyed the cinematography and the production design among other things, but it just doesn't click as well as you'd want it to. On the bright side of life, "Full Metal Jacket" fans will he pleased when I inform them of R. Lee Ermey's presence in the film; he gets the essential amount of screen-time and is menacing and even down-right sadistic when he needs to be. He's one of the film's few (guilty) pleasures, and he helps in any way he can, but that fails to put the icing on the cake. As if there was a cake to begin with.

If you want a brutal, grim, depraved horror fantasy; then this is most definitely your movie. Marcus Nispel has created the remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" remake that you probably never wanted to see - although you always knew that it was somewhere on the horizon. I can't say I thought it was a bad flick - you must give credit where it is rightfully due - but I don't for a minute call this good entertainment. It's far too derivative and needlessly violent a film to be anything near that. But it does have style, which is more than most horror films have these days; I just wish Nispel and his team had put all of their resources to better use, but they don't, and that's the end of this sad, lackluster story.

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More The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2... reviews
Quick Tip by . June 07, 2010
This movie was awful - way too much torture going on and it made me a nervous wreck. Gross is OK, but needless torture is overkill.
review by . May 04, 2009
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 …
review by . June 13, 2005
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. …
review by . February 11, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
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. …
review by . June 09, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
review by . May 13, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: ..     Cons: ..     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 …
review by . April 08, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
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. …
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Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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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
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Genre: Horror
Release Date: 2003
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: March 30, 2004
Runtime: 98 minutes
Studio: New Line Home Video
First to Review

"Good scarry movie"
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