Texas Chainsaw 3D *
Director: John Luessenhop
Running time: 95 minutes
Cast – Alexandra Daddario, Tremaine Neverson,Tania Raymonde,Scott Eastwood and Dan Yeager
JOHN Lussenhop’s latest feature is as much an exercise in futility and pointlessness as it is a perfect example of the continuing problems Hollywood has with the horror genre of cinema. Producers continue to churn out needless sequels and pointless remakes that are bereft of originality and devoid of any real tension or terror.
The film set’s itself out as a sequel of sorts to the 1974 original. Ignoring the numerous sequels that have already came and went. When young Heather Miller, played American actress Alexandra Daddario, discovers she is the last remaining member of the infamous Sawyer family, she travels to Texas with her 3 friends to claim her inheritance.
Upon arriving in the small town of Newt, Heather discovers her late Grandmother left her a small mansion in her will. As the group investigate the property, unwittingly they release Jed Sawyer, better known as Leatherface, who quickly embarks on another chainsaw wielding killing spree.
The six-foot five, mentally stunted man-giant is one of horror cinema’s most iconic and enduring creations, but it’s such a shame to see him appearing in this generic, cliché ridden horror feature.
Heather discovers a town full of corrupt police and officials, determined to keep their town’s dark past a secret, at any costs. It’s a plot development that feels terribly shoehorned into the feature, especially in its climax.
The decision to shoot the film in 3D is just one of my many objections. The visual effects add very little to the overall viewing experience, seemingly present as a way to distract viewers from the dreadfully plot-hole ridden script on display, full of clunky and tedious dialogue.
An example of such plot-holes is the fact that despite the feature being set in 2012, 39 years after the events of the original, the central heroine, who was discovered as a baby in the burnt rubble of the Sawyer’s home, is miraculously still only a young women in her early twenties. More worryingly is the film’s climax that sees the central protagonist forgetting the events of the film’s first half, with a silly ending that leaves the possibly for another dreary sequel.
Worst still is the director’s leering eye towards his young female cast, in particular Tania Raymonde. The camera ogles her with a lustful eye in almost every scene. It’s a terribly outdated approach, horror cinema has come a long way since the days of the big-breasted heroine running from her chasing assailant.
The only positive I can half-heartedly muster, is that despite its rather sluggish and laboured start, once things gets going the film doesn’t hold any punches with its gore. Fans of the red stuff will be delighted with what’s on offer.
But with such minimal character development, it’s hard for viewers to form even the slightest levels of emotional engagement with those onscreen, many of whom feel like nothing more than lambs to the slaughter.
It can’t be easy being a fan of Tobe Hooper’s 1974 original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the feature earned cult status after it was placed on the infamous video nasties list in the 1980s. The original had a sickeningly claustrophobic level of tension and terror throughout, yet it didn’t rely on gore for shock value. Some viewers might be surprised at the lack of blood in the film.
As Hollywood continues to treat horror fans like headless chickens, I despair for a genre of cinema I have such affection for. I can’t remember the last time I was truly terrified while at the cinema, Juan Antonio Bayona’s 2007 classic, El Orfanato, has probably been the most memorable in recent years, with James Watkins’, The Woman in Black a close run second.
Sadly as the genre becomes increasingly populated by torture porn and found footage features, it would be nice to see a film with some genuine aspirations, but at the moment I just don’t see it happening.
Review By William McClean