Welcome to 1974.
A pair of siblings and a few friends are on their way to visit a family burial plot and the old homestead. Along the way they pick-up a crazy hitchhiker and run into a creepy house that is full of crazy white trash cannibals and a pseudo-giant who has an interest in masks of human flesh and choppy power tools.
The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre was unsettling, brutal, atmospheric and very minimal. The filming had a documentary-like feel. You could see family issues, some rural vs. urban 70’s culture happening in a post-Vietnam era I the film. It was scary and creepy without buckets of blood, loud noises and jump scares. Hell there wasn’t even a soundtrack or score. It was banned in some countries, and pulled from theaters. People thought it was based on actual events. It is the progenitor of coming wave of 80’s slasher films. It gave us a fantastic and horrible villain (along with his family)! What could they possibly do to top all this?
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003
Driving through Texas, a group of twenty-somethings are headed to a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert. Right there that is enough to scare me to death! Anyway, they decide to pick up a traumatized female stumbling down the road. After this hitchhiker kills herself, the group is a bit troubled. While trying to get help from the authorities they stumble upon…you guess it. A creepy house in the middle of nowhere. Soon the twenty somethings are running for their lives from an evil cop, his family and pseudo-giant with a chainsaw.
Well here I go. Maybe I’ll get through this without a rant. Maybe.
The 2003 Chainsaw is all over the place. Where the original is episodic, this film has multiple characters and sub-plots running. During the film you get looks into; incest, genetic deformity, baby stealing, police conspiracy, torture, a bit of an anti-drug message and some cannibalism. All while multiple members of the twenty-something gang is running for their lives from one repetitive scene to the next.
|"Hey lets pick her up!"|
There is also a truckload of stupid going on here too. I can let a lot go when it comes to dumb stuff in horror, but here it is beyond dumb. Take the traumatized hitchhiker. She has obviously survived some horrible ordeal. She warns the group of their impending doom if they continue travelling the way they are. She then removes a snub nosed .38 from the crotch and shoots herself in the face. So….she had a gun hidden in the mommy parts. Two, she didn’t use said coochie gun on the people that had brutalized her. Three, she survived some ordeal only to kill herself. What the frak is that about? This is what we begin with and it only gets dumber from there!
Then there is the film itself. This is full of shaky camera, squelchy sound effects, the ever popular jump cuts and a bit of musical score overload. This should have been expected when the director had only done music videos previously. Even better it is just so damn dark. They want you be shown everything , but not be able to see it because of intentional crappy lighting. What? The original was a borderline grainy snuff film and this is an overproduced MTV music video. Well it would be if they had made one in the last 20 years. Am I right!
Holy crap the same goon that directed The Hitcher reboot also did this. Well that explains a lot.
Then there is the ever popular trope of having everything explained, shown or both to the audience. You have to be give an official back story to Leatherface. What? Yeah he was picked on at school for some skin condition, so that turned him into a human face wearing killer. They have to give Leatherface a name. Why? Well because he has to be called something when spoken to or about by his family I guess. You also have to get a shot of the face behind the mask as well. Why? Well because that is what the masses need. They need to know everything about this guy before they find him creepy. Maybe they need to know everything so they can understand why he is nuts. Even worse was the attempt to humanize him. Oh I feel sorry for the big galoot. Forget that he was a faceless child-like brute that was imposing on various levels and killed without provocation. He was crazy evil incarnate. Leatherface was so much more frightening without a contrived paper thin back story a quick shot of the face behind the skin mask.
|NO! JUST NO!|
Hey! They got John Larroquette to return to do the bookend voice overs. I thought that was really cool!
Then there are the characters. They are all drek like usual and you know from minute one who the last girl will be. Where the original you had no idea who was getting out alive, or if anybody would. Here you knew Jessica Biel would be the last person standing before anything happened. It also didn’t help that this was another unlikeable bunch of tools that I am supposed to cheer for. Or was I supposed to root for them? Yup. We have another situation where it is not clear if you are supposed to root for the band of rude cliché twenty somethings or the houseful of crazy cannibal people?
|Seriously? This is what we have to cheer for?|
The house looked great from the outside didn’t it. It was spookier than the original. That could be a positive. Right? Well until they go inside and it is nowhere near as strange and creepy. Gone is the detritus. Gone are the bone mobiles, furniture or wind chimes. Gone are the random chickens and their feathers. Gone is the outstanding crazy creep factor. The original house was almost a character as well.
Oh to hell with this movie and discussing it!
Just because you throw money at a franchise to remake it bigger, shinier and louder doesn’t even remotely make it better. The 2003 Texas Chainsaw Massacre is another disappointing remake/reboot. This should have never have been made. The 1974 original surpasses it on every level except financial budget and sex appeal.
Alright next I’m going to suffer through another rehashed classic, A Nightmare on Elm Street.
I imagine this will be as painful as the others.