Review: TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D (2013)

Don’t mess with Texas!


Directed by: John Luessenhop

Stars: Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, and Tania Raymonde

MPAA Rating: R



texas chainsaw 3d 3The TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE series has followed a very tumultuous path since the original film was released back in 1974. Two sequels, a “New Generation” film, a remake, and a prequel to the remake have all made their way to horror audiences in the nearly 40 years since Leatherface first revved up for the slaughter. Now, we have another CHAINSAW film, and in 3D to boot. This movie is using a different approach, though. It is acting as a direct sequel to the original CHAIN SAW film, supplanting the other sequels that came first. So, is TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D a worthy, new follow-up?

TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D follows a young girl, Heather, who inherits a large mansion from a recently deceased grandmother she never knew existed. She travels with her boyfriend and a couple of her friends to the estate to check the place out. However, the newly acquired home has a man with a penchant for human facemasks and killing with chainsaws living in the basement, and he doesn’t take kindly to strangers staying in his home.

There are other significant aspects of the plot that have not been revealed in the marketing for TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D, and in the interest of remaining as spoiler-free as possible, the specific details will not be revealed here either. But it must be stated that much of this film feels like a bait-and-switch. Audiences will be lured to it expecting a slasher movie where Leatherface stalks and kills several young people. Instead, what they will receive is a half-baked plot about family, vengeance, and Texas justice gone bad. Also, the whole “direct sequel to the original film” angle this one is playing at? It barely means anything at all. Sure, the beginning picks up immediately after the events at the end of the first film. The house looks the same. Leatherface looks the same. But it introduces other family members not present in the original CHAIN SAW, then instantly dispatches them all and the house itself. Thus, severing the ties it may or may not have had, save for Leatherface. The filmmakers may as well have had this be a direct sequel to the remake, or just have this be a completely separate film entirely.

Even considering those unexpected developments, TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D still manages to pile up bad horror movie clichés and sets up preposterously silly and moronic characters for Leatherface to dispatch. The heroine of the film, Heather, makes several particularly dumb moves in her attempts to escape to safety. For example, when running from Leatherface in a crowded fairground, in lieu of continuing to run to seek help, she opts to climb up to the ferris wheel and hang off the side of one of the passenger cars as it ascends into the air. Seemingly forgetting that this passenger car will circle back to the same spot with Leatherface waiting for her. Add in some trigger-happy redneck lawmen, a slutty best friend, smoking, alcoholic beverages, immoral sex, plenty of stumbling whilst running, and you have the makings of almost every single horror film you’ve ever seen. It is possible to include all of these elements, and pull them off competently. This film does not accomplish that.

It’s a shame that the script is so terrible because the rest of the production is actually pretty strong. The film is well-lit and well-directed. There’s nothing scary or intense about any of the scenes, but they are nice to look at throughout. The acting is generally pretty good, a minor miracle considering the dumb things the actors are consistently required to say or do. The production design and location work is top-notch. The mansion, in particular, is a terrific location for a horror film, which makes it a greater shame that it isn’t utilized in a better fashion. The special make-up effects are all handled very well. There are a handful of violent scenes, and they are all complemented nicely by the blood and gore.

So, in a nutshell, TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D is not especially good. The reasons horror audiences will want to see the film are short-lived and not very effective. The unexpected plot details are unwelcome and off-putting. The only real enjoyment anyone will derive from this movie is the unintentional laughter that is elicited from the characters and the story. This movie wants to be in the same league as the original TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE. Horror fans should just stick with that film and forget about this new one.

TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, January 4th, 2013. It cannot be recommended by this critic.

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