TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D
Directed by: John Luessenhop
Written by: Adam Marcus & Debra Sullivan and Kirsten Elms (screenplay), Stephen Susco and Adam Marcus & Debra Sullivan (story)
Starring: Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Tremaine “Trey Songz” Neverson, Scott Eastwood, Tania Raymonde, Shaun Sipos, Keram Malicki-Sanchez
If there’s anything we learned in school it’s that history has a tendency to repeat itself. Just like clockwork, every year around this time studios release what is usually their castoffs for the year. Though I thought it would qualify as the stereotypical shitty January release, director John Luessenhop’s TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D proved me wrong. Even though this sorta-sequel is nowhere near the equal of the majesty that is the original TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, it’s pretty damn fantastic for the franchise. It’s a bloody good time!
Our new adventure begins right where the original Tobe Hooper cult classic ends. The Sawyer house has just been destroyed by the local backwoods townsfolk. Whilst canvasing the decimation, Gavin Miller (David Born) finds two lone survivors of the Sawyer clan – Loretta Saywer and her baby. Miller kills the mother and absconds with the baby. Cut to twenty or so years later and the former Sawyer baby, now Heather Miller (Alexandra Daddario), is all grown up and living with her boyfriend Ryan (Tremaine “Trey Songz” Neverson). One day she receives a letter and she learns that she’s inherited a palatial estate from a grandmother she never knew she had. So she, her boyfriend, her slutty best friend Nikki (Tania Raymonde) and her boyfriend Kenny (Keram Malicki-Sanchez) hop in the VW van and high tail it for Newt, Texas to claim her birthright. Only the crew gets more than they bargained for when their hitchhiking new friend Darryl (Shaun Sipos) unleashes evil incarnate – Leatherface (Dan Yeager). And that’s when the body count starts adding up.
After years of suffering through dreck that has been sequel after sequel and one remake (which, truth be told, scared the shit out of me), fans have been granted some reprieve with Luessenhop’s film. It’s by no means perfect (it’s set in present day, but when you follow the timeline, Heather should be in her late thirties not early twenties), but it’s a refreshingly fun ride. While it would have been smart to go the FINAL DESTINATION 5 route in terms of how timelines play out, I’m willing to forgive its faults. Horror film clichés are scoffed at (the black guy doesn’t die first!) and it’s surprisingly conservative when it comes to female nudity (not gratuitous and only bra and panties shown). At one point, after the kids try to escape the cursed property and Leatherface saws the van’s tire, it puts you in the villain’s POV for a split-second and it’s a most revelatory experience to be able to giggle with devilish glee.
Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan and Kirsten Elms’ script layers in a clever analogy for greed releasing the devil. Cameos from Gunnar Hansen (the original Leatherface), John Dugan (the original Grandpa Sawyer), Bill Moseley (the original ‘Chop-Top’ Sawyer), and Marilyn Burns (the original Sally Hardesty) add touchstones to previous films in the franchise. And Scott “son of Clint” Eastwood’s slippery deputy is an ever-so-slight homage to horror film deputies of the past.
A nice palate cleanser to the over-stuffed, over-long “important films” of the Oscar season, TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D is something horror fans will relish – if only during the film’s brief one and a half hour run time. Even though you’ll have to make some leaps of logic, it’s worth it to experience the iconic character’s continuing adventure.
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