The last two films to bear the name ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ were produced by Michael Bay in the mid-2000s with some box-office success. Just a few years later now, Tobe Hooper’s classic horror has been rebooted again but this time, the film’s writers and directors have attempted to channel some grindhouse DNA into the project by positioning it as a direct sequel to the original.
In Hooper’s 1974 film, a group of youngsters on a road trip happen upon a 6’5” maniac and his protective hick family who proceed to slaughter the living heck out of the,. The action in the 2013 version kicks off moments after the end of the original. New footage is matched seamlessly with shots from the original, showing the entire Sawyer family trapped in a house blaze started by a local lynch mob. The fire seemingly kills everyone but a new-born baby girl, who is then adopted by a couple of the hayseeds responsible for killing her kinfolk.
Cut to: twenty-something years, presumably. The baby has grown up into a sexy young woman who seemingly doesn’t own a single piece of clothing that covers her toned mid-riff. She discovers the truth about her birth parents when she finds out that she has inherited a rural farmhouse in deepest Texas. Not knowing about her family’s murderous history, she travels through to Texas along with a small group of friends including her promiscuous friend, a geeky hanger-on and her buff boyfriend played by recording artist Trey Songz.
Now: this film is just about as sexually exploitative as a movie film can get without technically featuring nudity. Within moments of meeting our nominal heroine, she strips to her bra in a sex scene before the film swiftly cuts onto the next scene, where all the characters are soaking wet, thanks to a freak rainstorm (thanks, freak rainstorm!). On top of that, the director’s favourite angle seems to involve the camera being placed at the perfect level to get an eyeful of the girls’ butts.
Don’t get me wrong: there are plenty of good looking people for you to ogle at in this movie, but when the film cuts between scenes of sexy women in their undies with graphic shots of dismemberment, it felt like we were a part of some conditioning experiment designed to make us associate sex with terror. This is nothing new in the world of horror. In fact, most of the video nasties from the 80s had their fair share of T&A. But with this particular production being as slick as it is, it doesn’t quite achieve the charming naiveté of those old saucy horrors.
Should you see this? If you’re looking for something to watch on a quiet night in by yourself, this might not be for you. But if you’re with a small group of people and you just want something disposable, there’s a good chance you’ll find Texas Chainsaw to be a fun and trashy experience.
Miscellaneous Notes (**contains minor spoilers**)
- There’s a dramatic device known as Chekov’s Gun which suggests that if a loaded gun is introduced in the first act of a play, it has to go off in a later act. Heather’s boyfriend is established as a skilled cage fighter in the opening third. Does this pay off later with Leatherface being taken down by a triangle choke hold? You bet it doesn’t!
- While the original film is set in the early 70s, this sequel is most definitely set in 2013 (smartphones and all). The production designers and writers try to gloss over this fact the best they can, even going so far as to produce the only newspaper in the world that doesn’t bother including the year in its dateline:
- If the handsome sheriff’s deputy looks somewhat familiar, it might be because he’s played by Clint Eastwood’s son, Scott!
Texas Chainsaw is now available to buy and rent at blinkbox!