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Texas Chainsaw 3D (2012)

Cover art:

reviews/tcm3ds.jpg

Texas Chainsaw 3D (2012)Starring Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Tremaine “Trey Songz” Neverson, Keram Malicki-Sánchez, Scott Eastwood, Tania Raymonde

Directed by John Luessenhop


Texas Chainsaw 3D is the first installment in a major horror franchise to reclaim itself from the Hollywood remake trend. In this case the filmmakers have ignored the god-awful “Platinum Duniverse” and used the Tobe Hooper original as a springboard for the return of Leatherface and the Sawyer (not Hewitt) clan. That’s a trend I hope to see in coming years as long as it’s executed to better effect. Sadly, despite every attempt to win back the fan base, this return trip to Texas isn’t any better.

After a 3D recap of the original, we pick up with the Sawyer clan moments after Sally Hardesty escaped the infamous dinner table finale at the end of Hooper’s classic. And while it’s cool to see the original house lovingly recreated, this attempt at an olive branch quickly spirals into fan service with ill-conceived cameos (Bill Moseley fills in for the late Jim Siedow while Gunnar Hanson plays a previously unseen member of the family). From there a Devil’s Rejects style firefight ensues with Texas police and town locals, resulting in every member of the Sawyer clan being wiped out – save for one baby.

Cut to modern day. We’re introduced to Heather (Daddario, whose character should be about 40 given that this film takes place present day), the grown-up adopted survivor who has matured into a sexy Goth chick who works in the grocery butcher section and makes morbid art from animal bones (insert collective groan here). After receiving word that she’s inherited an estate in the middle of Texas, she gathers together a group of stereotypes (Doomed Black Guy, Slutty McSlutwhore, and Nameless Red Shirt) on a road trip getaway to her brand new secluded mansion. But not before picking up a random hitchhiker and leaving him alone in the estate while they take off to get weekend party supplies.

Morons.

TC3D is full of this kind of horror movie stupidity, where the characters are required by law to be as brain-dead as humanly possible in order to stay in danger. I realize the victims in Hooper’s classic weren’t exactly deep characters, but there was a rawness to them that made you fear for their lives. Here everything is chock-full of superficial Hollywood bullshit with chiseled WB teens and a bad hip-hop soundtrack in one of those mindless studio attempts to make Chainsaw appeal to the younger (i.e., dumbed down) generation.

The film is miscast from top to bottom, especially with regard to its antagonist, Leatherface (Yeager), now a balding, average-statured redneck who isn’t physically imposing in the slightest. While it’s not the case, it feels as if the filmmakers went down to the local dive bar, grabbed whatever random guy they could find and slapped a bad mask on him. Despite having KNB on makeup F/X duties, there’s nothing about his appearance or persona that distinguishes this version of Leatherface from the low-level imitations seen at your local haunted attraction every Halloween.

With flat direction by John Luessenhop, Texas Chainsaw 3D even wastes its central gimmick with boring, uninspired visuals the likes of a Syfy channel movie (if it weren’t for the title, this film would have never seen theater screens). The filmmakers even waste a potentially classic setpiece that sees Leatherface chasing our heroine through a crowded late night carnival. I was excited to see a chainsaw-fueled homage to Hooper’s Funhouse, or any other crazy visual scenario (a blood-drenched “Hall of Mirrors” or “Tunnel of Love”), but quickly realized I put more thought into this than the people making it. For most of the film’s runtime, everyone seems content to mine the same Texas Chainsaw formula we’ve seen time and time again.

Only in the home stretch does the script shake things up, with an unexpected twist that manages to change your sympathies. While it doesn’t change the sloppy execution that exists in every second of the ninety-minute runtime, you have to at least commend the writers for trying something different (something that can’t be said of the Platinum Dunes team). With a real genre director and better cast, it might have even worked.

But for all its good intentions, TC3D plays like a low-budget fan film and ultimately fails to redeem the franchise. Maybe turning this property into a franchise was the first big mistake. After Tobe Hooper’s goofy send-up sequel, it’s become more and more obvious that there’s nowhere left to go. Leatherface may be an icon, but several decades’ worth of attempts to bring him back have only resulted in tainted meat.

2 out of 5

Discuss Texas Chainsaw 3D in the comments section below!

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  • kiddcapone

    I don’t even know where the fuck to begin. I can accept bad movies, hell most are, but this is such an intellectually devoid piece of shit its mind numbing. I can pick it apart all day long, but I’ll just hit a few of the key issues. This is supposed to be a direct sequel? Okay, watch them back to back. Tell me, how in the fuck can anyone possibly feel any ounce of compassion for the Sawyer family? I don’t care how much of dickhead redneck asshole bunch of vigilantes burned down the house. It wasn’t like the Sawyers and Leatherface were victims. They killed innocent people for a long period of time. So huge assholes killed murderous assholes and who again thought it was a good idea to try and create some bizarre sympathy for the murderous assholes again? It doesn’t work, not even in the slightest.

    Then you have your usual group of big tits big muscles WB network stereotypes. 4 main characters and how many fall victim to Leatherface and the chainsaw? 2. Token black guy dies in a hilarious slow speed car wreck rollover and the blonde whore gets shot. The soaking wet muscular hitchhiker stranger gets left at the house all alone and decides to rob the place with no sense of urgency and no transportation to leave the middle of no where with his bag of loot. The slut doesn’t die in the airtight freezer? The main girl suddenly becomes bra-less and shirt wide open perfectly obscuring her fake tits just so a retarded Leatherface can conveniently see some birthmark/scar and remember that a baby he thought dead 38 years ago had the same one? Plus, why is she only in her early 20’s? Leatherface dug up and staged the dead grandmother in the house for why exactly? The slut wasn’t too injured to leave the car wreck, so why did she stick around and not run away? In Texas, where everyone packs a gun, you can run through a carnival with a chainsaw and people barely run away or shoot at you? And the young cop, apparently is too slow to make it to the ferris wheel where Leatherface is just standing there waiting for it to slowly come around and then spends so much time ducking a thrown chainsaw that some 300 pound guy runs away out of shooting distance? The abandoned slaughterhouse still has power? The main girl ignores the fact her friends are dead in the basement and instead feels compelled to care for Leatherface and enjoy being a Sawyer? The black cop is okay with all of this even though innocent people, not just the redneck mob, got murdered….

    I can’t go on. My fucking head hurts. I didn’t hate it, I didn’t like it, I just sat there in stunned silence trying to figure out….Why? Why does this movie even exist and how can so many untalented people exist in Hollywood? Texas Chainsaw 3D is like being visually waterboarded.

  • Fearless_Froude

    The 3D was just a gimick, wanna know why it wasn’t called Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D cause there was no Massacre. I also don’t think that The sawyer could make that hot of a cousin. The Devils reject esque shootout at the beginning was meh. “Welcome to Texas Mother fucker” Really? Leather face was there before they were. and the carnival clip in the trailer the only scene that made me wanna see this cause i am thinking (Rob Zombie voice) HELL YEAH mayham all around…nothing -_-.

    and the whole Leatherface is a misunderstood guy who needs love and compassion and to be taken care of…ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!? and

    -SHARK ALARM ALARM, THE LEATHER FACE, SHARK ALARM-

    Heather the main girl is all like ohh he butchered my friends that’s alright were family so lets just sweep that under the carpet.

    ugh.

  • Terminal

    Anyone get the sense Texas Chainsaw 3D was originally the planned sequel to that Platinum Dumbs 2003 remake? It’s kind of obvious at this point.

  • LifeMi

    Here’s my TCM best to worst list…

    1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (4.5 Stars)
    2. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part II (2.5 Stars)
    3. Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part III (2 Stars)
    4. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D (2 Stars)
    5. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2 Stars)
    6. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (1 Star)
    7. Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (.5 Star)

  • MonsterMash

    Really enjoyed it. It’s not perfect, and it’s not smart, but you have to applaud what it tries to do, and most of the time it succeeds. TCM2 is still better, and I enjoy TCM3 but TCM3D I enjoyed more than TCM3. It’s flawed but fun. Though, yes, It is dumb as hell. I hated every cast member under the age of 30. Save maybe Daddario. She did alright. The soundtrack was IQ draining. I hate how they try to market it like a Friday the 13th film. Chainsaw and Part 2 are far smarter than the smartest Friday that will ever be made.

  • Uncle Creepy

    Here’s some perspective. If I had to put together a list of these flicks from best to worst:

    The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2
    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (remake)
    Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part III
    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
    Texas Chainsaw 3D
    Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation

    I will say this though, TC3D is so laughably inept and bad that it’s kind of charming in its own weird way.

    I’d watch it again in a heartbeat. LOL

    • The Woman In Black

      Plus, as my dear friend Morgan said about TC3D: It totally wins the award for Most Tenacious Shirt in a Horror Film. LOL That scene of Heather with her shirt open but her boob perfectly covered up wins silliest of the year for sure!

      • Uncle Creepy

        I’m thinking it was crazy glued.

    • LSD Zombie

      Really? You put the TCM Remake above Leatherface? Ken Foree will never forgive you!

    • Masked Slasher

      For the hell of it:

      1. TCM
      2. TCM 2
      3. Leatherface

      THEN I DON’T REALLY GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THE REST, BUT…

      4. TCM: The Beginning
      5. TC3D
      6. TCM: TNG
      7. TCM ’03

      Yup. TCM ’03 is one of the worst horror films I’ve ever sat through. Nope, it wasn’t as dumb as TC3D, but it’s fucking boring and by-the-numbers lifeless.

      TC3D is a huge mess, but it’s such a spectacular one that I’ll be enjoying it for years to come.

      • Sirand

        My list is exactly the same as yours…although I would bump Leatherface down to the “don’t give a shit” list. It has a good script and is well-cast but every bit as blandly directed as TCM-3D.

        Texas Chainsaw: An undisputed classic but a shit franchise.

  • Jinx

    I, uh…I actually like the Platinum Dunes Chainsaws. Hated what they did with every other flick in their stable, but I freely admit to enjoying Chainsaw ’03 and The Beginning.

    …can we still be friends?

    • Uncle Creepy

      I liked the Platinum Dunes remake. Not a fan of “The Beginning”

      • Terminal

        You guys actually liked R. Lee Ermy: The Movie guest starring Emo Leatherface?

        I’ll sit through TNG before sitting through those PD crap fests, again.

  • KlassikKush666

    I saw a 10pm preview showing last night and I absolutely loved this. The direction they took was completely different than any of the others and the fact that they actually took the time to recreate and continue everything from where the original left off was fantastic; a little bit cliche’ all things considering but it was a very well-done movie with a lot of decent scare points after the opening. I do gotta say that watching Trey Songs die so painfully un-horror-like was sad as in the beginning we see him working out; which lead me to believe he was gonna attempt to go hand-to-hand with Leatherface which woulda been CHOICE. All in all though, I would’ve at least given this a 4/5 due to it’s creativity and the acting; this one is definitely better than the past 3 or 4 installments for sure.

  • DavidFullam

    Oh well, bring on Evil Dead.

  • Uncle Creepy

    Wow. While not as bad as “The Next Generation” this one is on par with Platinum Dunes’ “The Beginning” in terms of suck factor. Though this flick had much better ideas than that one did. Still the execution was lacking and borderline braindead. The acting was pretty bad too. Especially “Not Ken Foree”.

    Alexandra Daddario went for it for sure and I give her credit, but it’s really hard to overlook the fact that her character should have been around 40. To combat that glaring plot hole you never see the year the original “Massacre” took place nor is it ever mentioned. But here’s the thing… the filmmakers have gone on record stating that this is a direct sequel to Hooper’s original film. In said original film the date and year of the events are clearly stated. It’s really hard to forgive that, and sorry, paying no attention to the year is unforgivable.

    I also thought Dan Yeager did a fine job as Leatherface, considering that the character should have been at least in his sixties. His height and body type were a solid match for Gunnar’s, and there are moments in the movie he is truly menacing.

    The real shame of it all is that the flick does a couple of things right, but it just does so very much wrong. It’s hard not to point the finger at director John Luessenhop for really missing the mark here. Here’s an idea… instead of worrying about catering to a younger audience, how about you just concentrate on making a good movie that makes sense?

    TC3D’s heart is in the right place, but its brain is in the shitter.

    Endure the credits for a treat Easter egg!

    • AngryChairr

      How anyone can hate “The Next Generation” is beyond me. Matthew McConaughey has a mechanical leg!

  • Terminal

    Discouraging. Still gonna see it, but discouraging.

  • theGoldenSimatar

    I just came back from a screening. The film was alright. My biggest complaint was that the time period when it was suppose to be set was confusing. Chronologically it should be late 1980s earl 1990s….though it’s set in 2012.

    After the two Platinum Dunes films; maybe my expectations were set so low that whatever was made would seem better. And honestly I think this one was better than those two films.

    I liked it well enough, I knew it wasn’t going to be the original film all over again cause that one is literal lighting in a bottle. But for a sequel (considering the later pictures after 2) and a restart to the franchise; it’s not bad. Leaves at an interesting place.

    3D…had a few gags (thankfully used sparingly)…the 3D was okay. They tried but didnt’ exactly know what to do with the format.

  • MonsterMash

    Is the 3D good- or worth the price?

    • Uncle Creepy

      The 3D is completely inconsequential.

      • MonsterMash

        Alright. Thanks.

  • Jinx

    Great review. And yikes, am I not looking forward to this flick.