Texas Chainsaw Time Machine
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?).