SPOILERS The worst of the franchise reboots, by fa
mitchellyoung - wrote on 01/15/13
The scariest moments of this film are in the opening credits montage, which revisits some of the more unsettling moments from the 1974 original in 3-D. I'll make no secret that I am no fan of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. I don't dislike horror films (I think the Shining is one of the best films ever made,) but I don't think TCM has much to offer, beyond plumbing the depths of human depravity. The first film, though thoroughly unlikable, at least was consistently scary, and the zero budget level of production value added to the documentary-like feel of the film. Beyond that first film (which is a well-made piece of horror,) the rest of the franchise is a collection of ludicrous and increasingly gory horror cliches. This latest entry to the series is especially horrible.
Yes, the acting is extremely wooden and the script very convenient and poorly-written (some of the obvious attempts at memorable one-liners are so side-splittingly bad.) But that's often to be expected of, unfortunately, most horror films made in the last few years. What makes TC3D so bad, in my opinion, (and here is where the SPOILERS begin) is that it makes the inexplicable decision to turn Leatherface, about 2/3rds into the movie, into the movie's hero, and this with little to no justification as to why we should root for him. Yes, the film makes a halfhearted plea that the whole Sawyer clan was unlawfully massacred by the police and, thus, Leatherface is justified in his vengeance. (I seem to remember the whole disgusting family being party to the original film's string of grisly murders, but I could be wrong...oh well, according to this movie, their hands are clean.) But adding that exposition isn't enough. We aren't given any reason to really care about Leatherface and, yet, in the film's bloody climax, he and his longlost cousin are seen teaming up against the townsfolk like some sort of bizarre buddy action film.
It really is as bad as I'm describing. I give the filmmakers props for having the guts to try something new with a beloved franchise, but they don't earn the gimmicky conclusion. We still see Leatherface slaughtering people who had nothing to do with the previous mentioned massacre and, yet, we're supposed to forget that happened and root for Leatherface when he's later getting the crap kicked out of him by a gang of corrupt (?) officers. The movie's morality really is that messy.
All of this is the symptom of the film's chief offense - it doesn't give us anything to care about. All of the characters are thin caricatures of horrible people (the slut, the cheating boyfriend, the goofy friend,) and so there is no impact when some of them meet their end at the hands of Leatherface's chainsaw. This sucks all of the tension out of every scene and so even the scenes that are supposed to be scary just come across as unnecessarily gory.
I guess, if this movie is to be believed, we're supposed to look as Leatherface as not a killer, but just misunderstood.