Loosely based on a true story, and bearing the same title as the original horror cult classic, this remake is big on atmosphere and gore, but pretty empty on substance.
Five young people, returning from Mexico with a load of marijuana and cruising on a sunny day through the Texas countryside, barely miss striking a distraught young female (Lauren German) walking on the side of the road. Shaken by the encounter, they stop to check her condition and, to their later misfortune, decide to give her a ride, thus triggering the sequence of events leading to the horror that is to come.
While the group is trying to figure out what may have happened to her, she surprises them all, including the unsuspecting audience, by taking an unexpected and dramatic course of action, forcing them to drastically alter their plans from attending a rock concert, to frantically searching for the nearest Sheriff’s office. Eventually, they come up to such a disgusting looking gas station that is almost appealing in all its dilapidated majesty. That is just on the outside! It gets worse on the inside as they walk into the surreal premises – complete with a filthy, decrepit counter set over a refrigerated glass case containing pigs’ heads covered with big buzzing black flies.
As soon as the nasty mannered matronly attendant, who definitely looks like she belongs, calls the Sheriff, the audience just senses that whomever she’s calling will probably turn out to be anything but a clean cut, straight arrow County Deputy, especially when she announces that the sheriff will meet them at an old abandoned mill in the middle of the woods somewhere. Right about now the audience can begin to smell a rat, or is it those ripe pigs’ heads? Forced by the circumstances, the group drives up to the mill where, sure enough, they are met by the grubby, foul mouthed, and thoroughly corrupt Sheriff Hoyt (R. Lee Ermey), who wants to use the youth as bait to lure the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface from his hiding place.
The next thing to happen, of course, is for the group to conveniently separate in search of a telephone. Before any of them can say “timber,” the old chainsaw is back in action working double-time in the expert, murderous hands of the terrifying Leatherface (Andrew Bryniarski), who looks like a cross between Jason of the FRIDAY THE 13TH movies and the Hunchback of Notre Dame.
As they say, sometimes it is best to let sleeping dogs lie, and this is a dog that could have easily been left to sleep into oblivion, and no one the wiser. Then again, a new generation of horror fans used to FRIDAY THE 13TH and THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT may enjoy the moody, depressing and washed out photography, the creepy cutaways of discolored dentures in jars filled with yellow fluids, and bloody clumps of hair here and there. They will also most likely appreciate the documentary style in the beginning and ending sequences borrowed from THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, and the graphic gore common with the new generation of slasher thrillers.
Missing, however, are the lighter moments or tension relief that moviegoers have also come to expect. Once the roller coaster ride begins in this movie, it is just relentless, all the way to its exhausting conclusion. The thrill will be just as empty and short lived as that of a roller coaster, loaded, however, with a host of spiritually corrosive impressions absent in any amusement park ride.
Special mention must be made of R. Lee Ermey who turns out to be almost as scary as Leatherface himself by the sheer power and evil of his on-screen persona. The rest of Leatherface’s family is also perfect as one of the creepiest ensemble of backwoods characters that could put the mountain men of DELIVERANCE to shame any time. Jessica Biel does a credible job as the superego of the group choosing to do the right thing most, but not all, of the time. Jonathan Tucker, Erica Leerhsen, Mike Vogel, and Eric Balfour as her doomed companions do a credible job as well.
With some predictable chase sequences inside a Meat packing company named “Blair” of all names, this is mediocre even for its genre. Although good acting is forthcoming from the entire cast, with very effective set design and direction from Randy Huke and Scott Gallagher, the continuous hemorrhage, no pun intended, of obscenities, profanities, juvenile lust, gore, drug usage, lying, smoking, drinking, and graphic killing, makes TEXAS CHAIN MASSACRE highly hazardous even to diehard horror movie fans.
Please address your comments to:
Robert Shaye and Michael Lynne
New Line Cinema
116 North Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: (310) 854-5811
Fax: (310) 659-3568
SUMMARY: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is a remake of the same name, about a group of kids used as bait to lure the chainsaw-wielding maniac Leatherface out from rural Texas, and about how things don’t quite go as planned. With sex, violence, and plenty of foul language, this remake is one that moral audiences should avoid.
(PaPa, B, LLL, VVV, S, N, A, DD, M) Pagan worldview, with some redeeming elements shown in the actions of the heroine who most of the time chooses right over wrong; about 71 mostly strong obscenities, 17 strong profanities, 10 light profanities, vomiting, and obscene gesture; heavy, excessive, bloody, and scary violence and gore including deaths caused with the use of a chainsaw, automobile, knife, and gun; some passionate kissing and groping, plus a couple sexual comments; revealing wet shirt or blouse on woman; drinking; smoking and marijuana use; and, lying and madness.