This is 2013’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequel, released in the cinema with the imaginative title of Texas Chainsaw 3D. Set in Texas, this is a film about a man who attacks people with a chainsaw. It does exactly what is says on the tin.
It’s often said of inferior sequels and remakes that at least they get people to watch the original. Texas Chainsaw ruins the original for people who haven’t seen it by showing all its major events in the opening credits.
It many ways this is a decent sequel, however. There are plenty of nods to the original without it just feeling like a b movie remake. The plot revolves around Heather, a relative of Leatherface’s sadistic family, who was adopted as a baby. Let’s call her Moisturiserface. When Moisturiserface inherits a mansion from her mysterious grandmother she goes there with her friends to check it out. Little does she know that in the depths of the house lurks a man. A man who looks like the loser in a wrestling match staged at Land of Leather. A man with a dislike for outsiders and a fondness for chainsaws…
It doesn’t opt for jump scares like the plague of supernatural horrors in recent years, instead going for old-school tension and outright shock, again true to the original. It manages to be very scary in the process, packing in a lot of atmosphere, something which is increasingly hard to find in modern horror films.
There are no points here for the characters. Moisturiserface is slightly more interesting than her pals, who are a very boring selection of good looking youngsters. When was it decided that horror movie characters had to be sexy? One character, Nikki, is literally only there for her body. It would have been easier for the film makers to hand out a porno mag with the ticket for people who are liable to get bored during a 90 minute film or want some sex with their gore.
I guess it’s just a form of uglyism as the sexy good guys are pursued by the ugly monster. But the worst prejudice here is still against the mentally ill, as I wrote about recently. Leatherface is “huge but mentally stunted, with the emotions of an 8 year old”. Well, maybe 8 year old Hitler. Clearly it’s not a flattering representation of the mentally ill. That being said, it did make me consider another group often maligned by cinema: country dwellers. The view of people who live in remote places of being backward, stupid or murderous is one frequently reinforced by cinema. Even so it’s a stereotype far from as damaging as that of the mentally ill, thanks to the greater ease people have in separating fact from fiction when it comes to where people live and the far lower level of stigma attached to living in a backwater, redneck hick town.
Texas Chainsaw doesn’t have many problems that aren’t also true of the original. It doesn’t follow the slasher movie template as rigidly as I complained about in my recent Child’s Play review, avoiding being completely predictable if not completely surprising either. In the end it’s a solid addition to the franchise and should please people looking for a good thrill.