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A Teenage boy with a passion for all things nerdy! Expect a lot of Doctor Who, Cult/Horror Movies, Literature and Novels, History, Comic Books and random thoughts. Posts published weekly on a Friday evening. DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the items reviewed on this site and i also do not own of the pictures (unless stated so). If you own one of the photos and wish for it to be removed contact me at this adress: Super.pig@live.co.uk. However all of the written work is my own and is protected under copyright law.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Texas Chainsaw (2013)

I think that as much as Texas Chainsaw tried to do something new with an old franchise, I would not be the first to say that despite good intentions, it kind of sucked. The filmmakers clearly had the intention of turning Leatherface into something of an anti-hero, an unusual and original idea, yet and extremely difficult one to achieve. Sadly I agree with the majority that the attempt here is sloppy, lazy and comes off as just tasteless. Indeed whilst the first half of the movie played as just a standard slasher flick and didn’t really bring anything new to the table, I found that to be a great deal more watchable than the nonsense that was able to pass as a second half. You can’t show someone as this horrific deranged murderer and then suddenly try and make an audience feel pity for him, particularly when what the so called ‘villains’ did to him is nothing in comparison to what he did to his victims. Now please don’t misunderstand me, I don’t hate this film, it was enjoyable to watch and it was indeed different to others in the series. The filmmakers clearly have a lot of love for the original and I respect that, indeed the references were a great joy to see. However, basic plot flaws and sloppy film making stand out- not to mention the reliance on almost every Horror cliché in the book, resulting in a film that appears as a mess. An enjoyable mess, but still a mess.

We begin with a ‘recap’ of the original, with clips playing over the title sequence. We are then shown in a rather confusing sequence that the next day a Policeman arrives to arrest Leatherface and question the Sawyer family, before he gets a chance to do this though an angry Mob arrives and slaughters the majority of the family. Only a few escape including Leatherface and a baby girl. The reason why this scene is so confusing is that after being shown clips of the Sawyer family from the original, we then see AN ENTIRLEY DIFFERENT FAMILY get slaughtered. Ok perhaps here I am being too harsh, as at least Grandpa is recognisable but Cook didn’t even look like Cook and who the hell are all these new members? Where were they in the first movie? Ok it’s nice that Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface in the 1974 version) has a cameo but that doesn’t make this scene any less confusing. Anyway getting back on track the baby girl grows up and becomes Heather (Alexander Daddario), who now (we assume anyway) in her mid twenties is left an inheritance by her Grandma, a huge estate in Texas. Now I suppose this is the best point to address an issue in the film that seems to have annoyed rather a lot of people. I am of course speaking about the whole ‘Time Frame’ fiasco. Now surely if Heather was a baby in 1974 and the events in the rest of the movie we can assume are set in modern times (there’s an I phone amongst other things) then Heather must be in her mid-40’s and not 20’s? Not to mention Leatherface should be about 60 by now? Now being brutally honest, as lazy as this is I can overlook it. It’s obvious that it was only in then as someone decided that in order to sell a horror picture to a teen audience we need to set it in modern times in order to appeal to them.

Speaking of teens, it brings us onto our next plot point and our next issue. Heather takes her friends down to see the house and claim the inheritance, not realising that it includes her cousin Leatherface who has been leaving in the basement and being looked after by Heathers Grandma. Que massacre of teens. Now this section as I mentioned earlier plays out as your standard slasher but there’s lots of nice references to the original and despite the over use of cliché’s it is very entertaining. What I do want to say though is that it is kind of annoying how stereotypical the film and particularly this section is. We have the slut, the token black character (and yes he dies), the lone ventures into the basement. It’s done well don’t misunderstand me but it’s so cliché it’s like every other slasher around at the moment, were it not for the nice references to the first movie I wonder if it would feel like a Texas Chainsaw film at all! The gore in this section, despite being brutally over the top (something which annoys me as the original used very little blood but clever camera tricks to create the gory impressions) is admittedly well done and it’s nice to see not much use of CGI for a change. Leatherface himself comes across as creepy and indeed it’s probably one of the best portrayals of the character.

Now we get to the most problematic section of the film. Now bear in mind that Heather has just witnessed the murder of all of her friends, not to mention the mutilation of the bodies. Heather is taken to a police station where she discovers the truth about her family and how they were brutally murdered an angry mob. The head of this Mob is now the Mayor and him and some of the other survivors decide to band together to try and hunt both Heather and Leatherface down. The film suddenly switches and Leatherface is now presented a hero, sympathetic because he is ‘simple’ and the last surviving member of a family all but destroyed in a horrible act of injustice. No, I’m sorry but this is simply not enough to make this believable to me. All of the other characters seem to forget the crimes he and the family committed and view their slaughter as the main atrocity. To make matters even worse Heather then decides she is going to stay and help Leatherface, what?! He slaughtered her friends and tried several times to do the same to her?! But because he’s ‘Family’ she suddenly forgets all that and sides with him? It makes no sense! She wasn’t brought up by the Sawyers so there’s very little reason to believe why she would have this mentality, even less as to why the mob are viewed as the real villains. The Sawyers killed and eight people chopped them to pieces with a chainsaw! To an extremely small extent I can understand the sympathy with Leatherface as they repeat over and over that he is mentally challenged. They do not however explain why he has a desire to kill people in brutal and horrific ways, or why he wears their faces. Presumably it is because the Sawyer family corrupted his mind, so doesn’t make everyone even more prejudiced against their case?!
Now I do feel like I have been unnecessarily harsh, there is fun to be had here. Texas Chainsaw is not a must see for horror fans, but fans of the series should defiantly check it out for the fact that it ignores the remakes (and the original sequels if you’re going to be picky) and goes straight back to the original, following things on from there. Now it may not have done a great job and it may not have met everybody’s expectations. Indeed attempts to fit into the modern slasher genre cause problems (I mean really who cast Trey Songs?! Why must we have a rapper in every slasher!), that awful awful second act and moments of lazy storytelling stop this from becoming the great film I’m sure could have been made. None the less we’ve got what we were given and if I were to watch it again I would probably enjoy it a lot more the second time round. None the less on this first viewing I was bitterly disappointed.

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