This movie was a pleasant surprise. It was the right kind of scary, it laid off the torture porn and was not too gratuitous—the best horror sequel to a classic, well known entity of the 70's in a very long time.
Texas Chainsaw caught my attention right away. The film opens with memorable shots of the original film and it's sequel, 1974 and 1986 respectively. They were both crafted by a talented director of the macabre, at the time, Tobe Hooper. What makes these two original films special is the grit and grime, the 70's film stock, the bad acting, the camera work, Dennis Hopper, a disgusting, decrepit man eating dinner with his family and of course a crazed, maniacal, chainsaw wielding psychopath. Leatherface is loosely based on a real serial killer of the 50's, Ed Gein. The real story has been overblown and used countless times in movies as the basis for sociopathic characters like Norman Bates in Hitchcock's Psycho and Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs.
At this point there have been seven filmic renditions of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The first two are arguably the only ones worth your time so I was quite excited to see this recent film as continuing the original story and not just another facile rehashing. What's interesting is that you will still get all the cliched platitudes from horror movies of the last 30 years but somehow this film surpasses it's own banality. We have sexed teens taking a road trip to an undisclosed location with Deliverance style rubes. The usual teens are immoral story. But the filmmakers kept a 70's vibe throughout with just the right filter and just the right poor acting—at moments unbearable. Don't get me wrong, this is still a abysmal film from a critical standpoint. The actors are fairly bad delivering simple lines and they still make extremely illogical choices throughout, yet as a fan I really enjoyed it. I thought the story contained elements of shock and surprise that were genuinely terrifying. Instead of greasy yellow filters and gross out torture that comprised that the last two attempts at Leatherface, we are given brief glimpses of true terror in a 70's like way. It was a lot fun to watch. The lead actress was undeniably beautiful as well with a near perfect figure and tortuous blue eyes. Her constant denuded midriff is a welcome edition to my memory bank—
I wonder if teens are always the key targets in horror films because studios know that their main demographic consists of them or that older filmmakers are jealous of youth and promiscuity and wish to see all young people come to unseemly ends. Something to contemplate.
Bob Scale: The Critic: 5.5 - The Fan: 7.4
Rotten Tomatoes: 20