Wednesday, April 30, 2014

TCM At 40 Retrospective: Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)

Texas Chainsaw 3D
Director: John Lussenhop
Starring: Alexandra Daddario, Trey Songz, Scott Eastwood, Tania Raymonde, Keram Malicki-Sanchez
Rated: R

Do your thing, cuz!

Welcome to Texas, mother fucker!

Oh, he played that real smooth.

You let that bitch-meat get away!

So you're a Hartman?  I'm a Sawyer!

The above quotes are just a taste of the wonderful that populates Texas Chainsaw 3D.  No massacre this time.  Just the 3 dimensional gimmick.  This film muddles up even more of the series timeline by saying "Okay, so we're the true sequel to the original.  Bury the remakes, do away with those nonsense sequels from the 80s and 90s.  We're the REAL deal!"  Now, as we've seen, this series is far from perfect.  But, if you're going to go ahead and ignore or act like you've got some prestige over what came before, you better make sure your film is at least decent or arguable better than the once you are dissing by ignoring them and calling yourself the worthy successor to the first movie.
I apologize if this piece comes across as shorter than the others, but I just wrote about it a few months ago HERE as you may remember.  And, I want to do my best not to try and cover the same grounds I did before.  If you want my take on the glorious ferris wheel scene, that's where you're going to have to go to get it.
First off, this is not a good movie.  I do want to give the film credit for being a Texas Chainsaw film to actual go out there and try and do something different.  This isn't just another glorified remake calling itself a sequel.  It attempts to branch out and expand the mythology of the Sawyer clan and bring many more players into the mix.  They also opened up the film with some really cool 3D remastered scenes from the original film that felt like a nice gesture.  Ultimately though, what goodwill and boldness to take this series somewhere they may have had falls flat onto its face.
When I saw this opening weekend, I hated this movie.  The dialogue and characters were absolutely dreadful.  This movie didn't even know how to do math correctly which makes Alexandra Daddario a stunningly youth 39 year old woman.  Thing is, aside from the scene using Facetime, the movie was very convincing that it took place in the 90s.  Also, there's just a lot of character stupidity abound and some horrible acting to go with it.
Then, there's the dreaded "do your thing, cuz" moment that everybody talks about.  This is one of the single most retarded plot turns and commitments I've ever seen.  So, this film is asking you to ROOT FOR Leatherface.  And Heather jumps on the side of the monster who has just murdered and is going to eat her boyfriend and friends.  It makes ZERO SENSE.  Its an excruciatingly bad line and twist.  It honestly reads out of something of a middle school screenplay.  If you go on horror message boards, you always notice these youthful ones always writing some sort of blaze of glory redemption stories for their mass murderers as if that forgives the hundreds of people they've savagely massacred (seriously, its ridiculous).
With my anger behind me, my second viewing of the film went a lot better.  I started enjoying the movie for all its stupidity and production shortcomings.  If you're the type that gets a kick out of Troll 2, this seems like it could be a modern candidate for that type of movie.  Its going to need to take a few years for people to see (I doubt in 1990 Troll 2 was garnering the love for the reasons it has it now), but I think this one could be the type of movie that becomes a fun time with a the right group.  Right now, the first thought for many is "F*** this film what garbage" after the first viewing just like me.  It really is terrible.  But once that layer is peeled back, you can start laughing at the movie instead of scoffing at it.
This film's story winds up being such a mess.  Box office drop in week 2 aside, I think it effectively has killed the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise for at least another 6-7 years before they try and remake the original again.  Where in the hell would this story go after this movie?  Heather and Leather?  I don't know anyone in their right mind who would want to be tasked with writing or directing trying to follow this.  Though, I can't lie, that kind of disaster sounds pretty enticing.  Had this movie been a rousing success, I wonder if it would have started a studio trend of making "true sequels" to original horror properties?  Would we have seen a new Exorcist 2, Halloween 2, Friday the 13th 2 as a new form of rebooting a franchise freshly?  Maybe some would have been good, but thankfully, we don't have to find out.

NEXT TIME: The Rank Is Family

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