There is, I suppose, a certain advantage to lowered expectations — and my expectations for Texas Chainsaw 3D could scarcely have been lower. As a result, I feel confident in proclaiming that I’ve seen worse (some of which even had the words “Texas” and “chainsaw” in them). I suppose I should note that what I actually saw was plain old Texas Chainsaw (there seems to be a different main title for the 2-D version), so it’s possible that I missed some of its awesome-osity, but I doubt it. The cheesy 3-D moments — including a chainsaw being hurled at the audience — are nothing if not obvious. Well, after all, a movie called Texas Chainsaw is not likely to be big in the subtlety department. Now, you may think that after six movies — including a reboot and its prequel — that there would be nothing left to say on the topic of Texas chainsaw massacres, and you would be right. Undaunted by this — and their own inherent lack of talent — the cast and crew of the latest film bravely soldiered on against the odds. The odds won — but not without leaving some wayward amusement in their wake.
The “inspiration” here is that Texas Chainsaw ignores all the films that came after Tobe Hooper’s 1974 original (including, of course, Hooper’s own 1986 Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) and uses the original as the jumping-off point. Well, sort of. In order to do this, a certain amount of playing fast and loose with the events and mythology of the original was required. No matter. They also ignore or overlook the fact that a baby stolen from the Chainsaw-happy Sawyer clan in 1974 is going to be pushing 40 in 2012, and isn’t likely to bear much resemblance to 20-something Alexandra Daddario. Judging by other aspects of the film, I’m actually inclined to believe that the math simply defeated them. Anyway, it’s now 38 years later and she’s in her early 20s and her real grandmother, Verna Carson (played in flashbacks by Marilyn Burns, the sole survivor from the original), has handed in her dinner pail and left everything to said granddaughter who never knew the old gal exited (neither did we). This granddaughter was raised as Heather Miller by the trailer-trash yahoo vigilantes who took her in back in ‘74. Heather — probably cheesed that her foster parents wouldn’t buy her clothes that weren’t two sizes too small — promptly sets out with her worthless boyfriend (Trey Songz, who is also pretty worthless as an actor), her slutty best friend (Tania Raymonde) and their comic relief friend (Keram Malicki-Sanchez) to claim the inheritance.
Little does Heather know that a six-and-a-half-foot murderous moron with a penchant for masks made of human skin goes with the deal. Little do any of them know…well, much of anything actually. These are quite possibly the dumbest bunch of meat-on-the-hoof kids ever to be in this kind of movie. And nearly every stupid thing that follows could have been avoided if Heather had bothered to read Grammy Verna’s letter when it was handed to her, but then there would have been no mayhem and no movie. (I’m not saying that would necessarily have been a bad thing.) OK, there are some twists — so preposterous that I won’t ruin them — but all in all, this is pretty rudimentary schlock horror, enlivened by appalling writing, bad acting, unintentional humor and the faux-Southern gospel song “The Hand of the Almighty” (which promises that “God will f**k you up”). Welcome to movie year 2013! See how much the studios love us? And if this is a hit (and it looks probable), they have something like seven more lined up. That’s Lionsgate, folks, the people who were too classy to release Midnight Meat Train. Rated R for strong grisly violence and language throughout.
Playing at Carolina Asheville Cinema 14, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande, United Artists Beaucatcher Cinema 7