The Score: "['Texas Chainsaw'] Takes Advantage Of The 3D By Shoving Blood Spurts Into Viewers' Faces"

Friday, Jan 4, 2013 5:00PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

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  • Texas Chainsaw 3D
  • Tania Raymonde, Trey Songz
  • January 4, 2013
Chicago Tribune 1 out of 4
Shock Till You Drop 5 out of 10
Bloody Disgusting 3 out of 5
Seattle Times 1 out of 4
Screen Crush 6 out of 10

If you're ready to shake off the holiday jolly and kick-off the first weekend of 2013 with some bloody fun, then look no further than your local movie theater's Texas Chainsaw 3D showings for the fix.

Fans who have cherished the iconic bloodfest series will feel right at home as Texas Chainsaw 3D picks right up where the 1974 original left off.

The opening sequence takes place directly after the final scene of Hooper's film, depicting a Waco-like encounter in which the house containing Leatherface and his cannibalistic family burns to the ground with all its occupants presumably dead. Except for a baby, who is promptly adopted and, as we soon see, grows up in Oklahoma to be the beautiful Heather (Alexandra Daddario). Cut to roughly 20 years later, when Heather learns of her origins after being left at the Texas mansion by her late grandmother. She and her friends promptly head off in a van to check out her inheritance -- which, unbeknownst to them, is still the home of the hulking Leatherface (Dan Yeager). (Bloody-Disgusting)

Notable cast members this time around include R&B star Trey Songz and other well-known Hollywood faces.

The film's first half follows conventional horror movie tropes as the heroine and her hottie companions -- boyfriend Ryan (rapper Tremaine "Trey Songz" Neverson), BFF Nikki (Tania Raymonde), her new crush Kenny (Keram Malicki-Sanchez) and a hunky hitchhiker (Scott Eastwood) -- are pursued by the chainsaw-wielding inhabitant with predictably lethal results. But not before all of them bare as much skin as possible. (Hollywood Reporter)

Although the series has been around for decades, the movie creators made sure newcomers to the brand would not get lost in the shuffle.

For those new to the series, or those with only hazy memories of watching a washed-out VHS of Tobe Hooper's low-budget 1974 sensation, 'The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,' this new one opens with a nice recap of the original. Finally, a chance to see Teri McMinn's red shorts in 3D! The story rolls along in quick cuts until Leatherface's final spin in the middle of the country road. . .then continues. We see a lynch mob pull up to the Sawyer house and burn it down, but not before a newborn baby girl is plucked from the clutches of a dying hick and handed to a different hick who, I dunno, decides in the middle of gunning down cannibals he'd really like to care for a child. (Screen Crush)

This new flick takes hold of today's popular trend of 3D technology-infused flicks and puts it into full gear.

Director John Luessenhop (Takers) takes advantage of the 3D by shoving blood spurts and the occasional chainsaw directly into viewers' faces, but otherwise it has little impact other than to goose the box-office with those hefty surcharges. Unlike the restrained 1974 film, which cleverly relied mainly on suggestion, this version piles on the graphic, often CGI-enhanced gore. (THR)

Although there are obvious connections, diehard fanatics will notice some key elements missing.

The first movie to go into wide release in 2013 misses, by mere days, a qualifying run for the 2012 Oscars. Thus "Texas Chainsaw 3D" can't enjoy the hype of the just-as-bloody "Django Unchained." Well, there are other differences. "Chainsaw 3D": They no longer use "Massacre" in the title. It's either implied or -- well, they don't want to give the movie away -- picks up the "story" where other recent massacres have left off. "Chainsaw 3D" makes some effort to find a reason for Heather, played by a stunning specimen of bare-midriffed beauty, Alexandra Daddario, to drag three of her 20-something friends to Newt, Texas. She's a surviving member of the slaying Sawyer clan, the inbreds who gave birth to and protected the hulking monster Leatherface. A brief opening sums up the "end" of the Sawyers, the lynch mob that rightfully burnt them all to a Texas BBQ crisp. (Chicago Tribune)

While most fans of the franchise should go home happy, some critics found a few flaws in this 3D horror ride.

As the backstory of "Hitchcock" makes plain, the "real" story of a guy killing and gutting his victims is the very definition of "the banality of evil." Hollywood has to intervene to make these movies thrillers. But there's nothing thrilling about summarily dispatching everybody who isn't meant to survive to the credits, nothing entertaining about meathook-, hatchet- and chainsaw-murdering that we've seen scores of times. And if the best a trio of screenwriters can come up with is "Texas is the LAST place you want to be" and "A chainsaw don't make you bulletproof," maybe it's time to bury the leather face mask and move on. (Seattle Times)
I do have to wonder, however, how Heather appears to be in her early to mid-20s even though the events of Texas Chainsaw Massacre - in her infancy - took place in '73/'74. And while I'm questioning things, I have to also wonder why there is a certain plot detail involving something that occurs between Raymonde and Songz's characters that doesn't pay off. Like, at all. They do something together and there's really no reason for them to do it; there are no repurcussions as far as Heather is concerned. It's sloppy storytelling and Texas Chainsaw 3D is filled with plenty of rubbish - that includes a modern take on the "hitchhiker scenario" as well as a scene in which the mayor and sheriff watch, via computer, a police deputy, using Facetime on his goddamn iPhone, roam the dark corridors of Heather's mansion. It's a bafflingly bad scene rife with terrible reaction shots from the mayor and sheriff. (Shock Till You Drop)

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