Texas Chainsaw (2013) – Review

1/2 Star

John Luessenhop (Lockdown, Takers) is a director I’ve long considered to be an under-rated talent, after seeing the mess of a reboot/sequel that is Texas Chainsaw, I wonder if I was too kind in my earlier praise. This is a movie with such contempt for its characters and audience that it defies stupidity early on, before catapulting itself into the realm of absurdity shortly thereafter. The main selling point here is to regurgitate a sellable premise to a new generation of moviegoers keen to watch teenagers disemboweled by a lunatic in a flesh textured mask, wielding a chainsaw. The same day I saw Texas Chainsaw, I saw a movie about Jack the Ripper’s reincarnation, and the newly reboot Evil Dead flick. So with a sinking feeling I began to realize that the third bill on my triple feature, while clocking in the shortest at 95 minutes was going to be the longest haul.

The opening credit sequence cuts in snippets from the cult 1972 original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, in an attempt to bring viewers up to speed on the events that preceded the story about to unfold. Mixing in a bit of retooling, the best scene in the film is a sequence in which the local sheriff negotiates the surrender of the murderous Swayer boy, only to have things go awry when a lynch mob shows up and burns the estate to the ground. In the ensuing chaos a baby is discovered and stowed away by a barren couple who raise the child to adulthood without her true identity ever being revealed. Until the day the young woman receives a legal notice informing her that she is the last remaining heir to an estate deep within the backwoods of Texas.

So the girl and her roommate along with their respective boyfriends, pack up and head to the Lone Star state for some spring break fun. Arriving at the property, things aren’t what they seem. The house is still harboring the murderous Leatherface in an underground dwelling that apparently gives him access to any room at any moment no matter how geographically illogical. Then halfway through this tedious story, the main character forms an unlikely alliance with the brutal serial killer and the movie seems to change its point of view. Is Leatherface supposed to be a sympathetic and tragic figure, in the mode of Rob Zombie’s Halloween reinterpretation? Texas Chainsaw is a remarkably shabby film all the way down the line. This is one of the year’s worst and surely the low point of an already less than prestigious series.

Director: John Luessenhop
Stars: Alexandra Daddario, Scott Eastwood, Trey Songz

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