Texas Chainsaw Time Machine

TEXAS CHAINSAW

2 Stars  2013/18/92m

A.k.a. Texas Chainsaw 3D

“Evil wears many faces.”

Director: John Luessenhop / Writers: Stephen Susco, Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan & Kirsten Elms / Cast: Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Tremaine ‘Trey Songz’ Neverson, Tania Raymonde, Shaun Sipos, Keram Malicki-Sanchez, James MacDonald, Scott Eastwood, Thom Barry, Paul Rae, Richard Riehle, Bill Moseley, Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hansen.

Body Count: 13

Dire-logue: “Welcome to Texas, motherfucker!”


Two stars, eh? Let me tell you I was swinging between two or one-and-a-half – because this is so, so, so very bad. But not completely a lost cause, albeit for other reasons. Read on, but beware some HUGE SPOILERS

Some years back, when Platinum Dunes retooled the franchise with the 2003 film and it’s 2006 prequel, original creator Kim Henkel bleated that he was going to write a better sequel and now, a while later, I suppose this is allegedly it.

On the surface of things – and from the trailer – anyone would be forgiven for thinking this a continuation of the PD films in some way, but this is not so. Instead, TC3D as I will call it for ease of differentiation, begins with a blurry flashback to the events of the original film from waaaaay back in 1974. NINETEEN-SEVENTY-FOUR.

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In what’s the best use of creativity, it picks up there and then, with the cops turning up at the farm and the family within – now officially the Sawyers – suddenly enlarging in number and declining to send out ‘the boy’. Some absolute asshole rednecks arrive and a shootout begins that culminates in the house burning to the ground. Sifting through the rubble, one of said assholes happens upon the only survivors, a woman and her newborn. He snatches the baby and promptly snuffs out the mother.

Skipping to the present – so, what, 38 years later? – Alexandra Daddario is that grown-up baby. But she’s 26-years-old, possibly playing younger. What’s going on? All will be revealed. Or not.

Anyway, she – Heather (Heatherface?) – learns that she has inherited a house from the grandmother she never knew of. With her boyfriend Ryan (singer Songz – “LOL”), slutty friend Nikki, and Ryan’s bud Kenny, they opt to drive down on their way to New Orleans and sign the papers et cetera. On route they collect buff hitcher Darryl, and then find that Heather’s house is in fact a huge mansion.

Of course, nothing comes for free and the other “only” survivor of the house-burning 38 28 18 however many years earlier resides in the cellar, ready to hack up any outlanders, which he does once Darryl inadvertently frees him. He kills some, chases the others until they crash their van, and only Heather remains to be pursued through the woods and to a carnival, where nobody helps her.

Eventually, she is rescued by the cops and discovers, once at the station, that they all know about “the old Carson place”. A handy box of files reveals what the asshole rednecks did to her family and, conveniently forgetting her boyfriend and friends are dust, Heather begins to come around to the idea of family loyalty.

What. The. Fuck. …are the three words you’re looking for.

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Some of the asshole rednecks involve themselves again in an attempt to keep their names out of the dirt and capture Heather. Leatherface intervenes and the two of them more or less team up, off the ringleader and skip merrily back the the house where some now-useless factoids are revealed in a letter from Grandma (played by Marilyn Burns who was, of course, Sally in the original).

So what the hell were they thinking? After slagging off the 00s remakes, THIS is the best they could do? When I first saw the VW T25 in the trailer I assumed they were setting it in the 80s. Good idea, thought I, that’ll make for some nostalgia. Nuh-uh, the van is the only casualty I mourned as it crashes and is then attacked in a scene VERY similar to one in the PD 2003 film.

Eagle-eyed viewers will notice that all dates are skewered from view so that the year is never shown on gravestones, documentation, or the newspaper Heather finds in the files. They want us to believe that the events occurred about 20-25 years ago. It’s pretty insulting to anyone who values the original film. Fortunately, I don’t, so I just laughed at it and moved on.

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The other big transgression – and future Twist of Fury – is Heather’s miraculous change of perspective. Leatherface hunts her down for ages, kills people in front of her, clearly wants her dead, but the moment she finds out he’s her cousin, all that goes out the window and she’s on Team Sawyer.

It’d be sad if it weren’t so tragic.

The film at least looks very good, the ‘slasher’ section is entertaining enough, although several characters break every rule in the book, one of whom – a cop, no less – disobeys orders and follows a trail of blood right to some bodies on his own, broadcasting via his iPhone. 3D effects are plain and sparse and completely superficial, working only once or twice when the chainsaw comes at the screen.

It beggars belief that a script so bad could be greenlit, let alone written in the first place, with so little regard for earlier entries in the original series. Patchy as they were, they never made a faux pas this big. Respect goes to Deddario for agreeing to play the role that features such a massive turn around that would take most humans years to acclimatise to, as well as shout serious lines like “Do your thing, cuz!” as she slides a chainsaw across the floor to the man who wanted her dead ten minutes earlier.

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An idiotic movie if ever there was, but if you’re looking for a fresh kinda comedy in 2013, this could be it. I can tell you most the audience in my cinema were laughing heartily.

Interesting that Gunnar Hansen criticised the 2003 remake but agreed to partake in this!

And Leatherface’s name is Jed. Awwww. I know a Jed, he’ll be pleased about this.

Blurbs-of-interest: Daddario was also in Bereavement; Malicki-Sanchez was Timmy in Cherry Falls; Richard Riehle was also in Hatchet and The Watermen; Moseley was in Silent Night, Deadly Night III, Home Sick, and Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet; Gunnar Hansen was in Harpoon. Shaun Sipos was one of Kimberly’s doomed friends at the beginning of Final Destination 2. Writer Adam Marcus directed Jason Goes to Hell (telling, isn’t it?).

15 comments

  • And Shaun Sipos was in Final Destination 2!

  • “Do your thing, cuz!”

    Totally thought this would be the chosen Dire-logue.

    Every other review I’ve read has said pretty much the same thing – its sloppy as Hell.

    And they’ve already announced another one.

  • hmmmmmmmmm now to see or not to see !!! that is the question, lol

    i dont mind the texas chainsaw movies, thou i haven’t watched any of em in forever, not really my go to kinda movie, maybe i need a refresher course before i see this one haha, theres not enough horror movies coming out atm its sooooooooooooo annoying lol

  • @JJ – good spot – added.

    @LC – “Do your thing, cuz!” made all 15 people in the theater laugh out loud in unison. It’s the real dire-logue, for sure, but you need the context.

    @Megzy – you only need to watch the first one – the one in 1974!!!! – to lead into this.

  • I think I will wait for the home format release of this, where no doubt it’ll be emblazoned with the usual: Uncut! Unrated! Unfulfilling! marketing will spur me on in checking this comedy out.

  • I think I liked it more than most people seem to have but then Im a big fan of the series. Hud when are you going to review the first 1?

  • well i just downloaded the 1974 texas chainsaw, i think i shall watch all of them thou, its my new mission hahaha, seen as australia is being -STUPID- and texas chainsaw 3d isn’t even out in cinemas here yet !!!!!!

  • Has just realized I’ve never watched the 1974 Texas chainsaw till now !!!!!! The one I always remember is the 1982 texaschain saw with Renee zwelweger !!!

  • That one was out in 1994.

  • well, least we have something to compete to that weird Illuminati-twist in Part four!

  • Lol I just realized that hey I have no idea way Texas chainsaws I have seen no I reckon the 1994 one was the frist one I saw for some reason I thought it was the 1980 one hmm I am so not up to date with my Texas chainsaw movies lol !!

  • soooooo can i be totally bad and say i just watched this and i liked it !!!! seriously i dont know why but i did, i think they where trying to set it like its only 20 odd years after the orginal event and ur kinda supposed to suspend your knowledge that its 2013 lol well thats how i interupted the movie anyway and i kinda prefered the ending to all the others the lone final girl escaping its the same ending done to death in texas chainsaw thou an odd twist i get it too, these people killed her entire family i kinda get the whole wanting revenge even thou he did kill all her friends earlier !!! But the friend wasnt much of a friend n the boyfriend a douche and she barely knew the other guy and she just found out who she really is an clearly shes as bat shit nuts as her cousin lol,

    anyway i am rambling on, i am a total werido cause i like all the movies everyone hates and i hate all the movies everyone loves and raves about lol

  • When the 2003 remake came out I was severely annoyed by it. I was sure that something better could have been wrung out of the concept and that the remake was a worst case scenario. Then the god awful prequel happened, and I truly thought the series couldn’t get worse. Apparently I love being wrong.

    Now, having trudged though The Beginning and TC3D, that first remake seems like solid gold. Even the crappy original sequels are appealing compared to this idiotic, impossibly contrived nonsense. Dennis Hopper in a chainsaw duel with Leatherface? Yes, please. Ken Foree as survivalist guy squares off with (yet another iteration of) the Sawyer family? Hit me.

    The only original sequel that will never be appealing no matter how bad the franchise gets is The New Generation (sequel #4), for obvious reasons.

    Also, Meg, if TNG was your introduction to the series it’s no wonder you enjoyed this one. That one was so bad that it defies the laws of nature.

  • Never have been a fan of the old films – as the baying crowds will chant when I finally review the original. I liked the 2003 film and the 2006 prequel wasn’t so bad, despite being pretty much identical.

  • (probably no one will ever notice this, but I suppose there’s always that chance)

    Actually, within the parameters of the film, Heather’s sudden turnaround makes perfect sense.

    In a moment of perfect clarity, she realizes that, if the crooked mayor and cops kill Leatherface, they will, to continue the cover-up, certainly also kill her. She at least vaguely understands that Leatherface (despite having tried to kill her earlier) had, once he’d realized she was his cousin, tried to help her escape minutes before, so she is reasonably certain that he will NOT kill her.

    Above all, the Final Girl must *survive*. Her best chance of survival was for Leatherface to live and for the crooked mayor and cops to die. Q.E.D.

    Furthermore, having not only watched her friends die (at, yes, the hands of Leatherface) but learned that her adoptive family (whom she trusted) are killers and that the police (whom she took it for granted would help her) are killers and, to top it off, being confronted with the knowledge that the only person left in the world who will risk his own life for her is an insane flesh-eating killer, Heather has done what it’s surprising traumatized slasher film survivors don’t do more often:

    She has herself gone insane.

    She has, in fact, *joined* Leatherface in insanity, adapted to his world because, obviously, Leatherface can never adapt to hers.

    Again, she must side with Leatherface if she is to *survive* — it’s her & him or her & nobody — and no SANE human being could ever side with Leatherface. Again, Q.E.D.

    So, theoretically, the next Texas Chainsaw Massacre film could again star Heather, but this time as The Slasher, the trope of the crazy woman who kills interlopers to protect the feeble-minded relative hidden in the basement…

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