Every film viewer has a bias, a preference. How many times have you tried to show someone a brilliant film in your opinion only to be met with indifference or criticism? Such is film — it’s subjective. When it comes to myself, I can best be described as a horror sympathizer. Whereas some other genres have to win me over in some way to get me in a seat, then to be content about it, I want to see a horror film. I want them to be good. To that end, I will search hard for things a horror does right, however slight they may be.
After getting out of my showing of the latest remake/sequel/loose translation/money grab of ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’, the… wait for it… sawed off ‘Texas Chainsaw’, I contemplated, I discussed, and while I was able to find a few things it did right — attempting and succeeding somewhat in telling a story — I could not overlook how glaringly stupid it was. It’s off the charts stupidity. It’s hard to even go into the story because things get really stupid, really quickly.
Here’s a go, anyway: a young woman (Alexandra Daddario), with an equally as attractive group of friends with libido to spare, for some reason inherits her recently deceased grandmother’s home. Naturally, she and her friends take a trip to Texas to check it out. Problem is, it’s related to the Sawyer family, who years back became known for their murderous ways and their good ole’ boy, Leatherface (Dan Yeager) – or should we call him Jed? Far more intimidating. So, the Sawyer family isn’t too well liked in the community, so much so that a band of vigilantes burned up most of the clan after an escapee of their tortuous games alerted their attention.
I won’t go any further than that for the sake of avoiding spoilers, but I will say that what follows is a nonsensical blurring of logic and perception. It’s a film that attempts to get you to think — and the makers should be commended somewhat for that attempt — but good intentions are one thing, good execution is quite the other. The best thing about ‘Texas Chainsaw’ is the opening credits, a montage of the original 1974 film. I’d say that it “sets the tone”, but that would imply that something good followed.
On the positive side, some of the jump scares are effective; however, they grow, in typical horror formula, more and more predictable as they go on. Though the word ‘Massacre’ is missing from the title, there is most definitely the amount of gore you would expect from a film carrying the series’ brand. If frontal nudity is your thing (and there’s not a damn thing wrong with that — it’s exploitative horror, after all), you’re going to be disappointed. It’s soft in that regard, but Tania Raymonde’s skimpy outfits coupled with select camera angles almost make up for it.
This is a true horror sequel in the sense that a horror fan is going to be able to sit through it and may even enjoy a few things, but were it not for the name, it wouldn’t get by on its own merit.