Review: TEXAS CHAINSAW (2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Monday, 28 January 2013

Review: TEXAS CHAINSAW (2013)


Ignoring whatever sequels, prequels or even the recent remakes of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE franchise, TAKERS helmer John Luessenhop is game enough to position his new TEXAS CHAINSAW (or TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D as widely advertised by the marketing campaign) as a true sequel to 1974's Tobe Hooper's horror classic. For the record, Luessenhop really has an eye for a grimy-and-gritty horror approach but good technicality alone isn't nearly enough to justify this as a worthwhile sequel. Instead, TEXAS CHAINSAW is more of the same horror movie you've come to expect from this already-tired franchise.

Picking up where the 1974 movie has left off (along with its original footage to sum up the story), we last seen Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns) managed to escape from the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface and hopped on a pickup truck. Shortly after, an angry mob arrived and took justice into their own hands. They ended up shooting the cannibalistic Sawyer clan and burned their farmhouse to the ground. All were presumed dead, except for a baby who belonged to one of the Sawyer women  The baby was then snatched up by two of the vigilantes, Gavin and Arlene Miller (David Born and Sue Rock).

Years later, the baby is now grown up as a teenage girl named Heather (Alexandra Daddario) who works at a supermarket cutting meat. One day, she is surprised to discover a letter indicating that her grandmother Verna has died and revealed that Gavin and Arlene are actually not her biological parents. Upon knowing the truth, she travels to Texas to claim her inheritance, and tags along her friends Ryan (Trey Songz), Nikki (Tania Raymonde) and Carl (Scott Eastwood) to accompany her for the ride.

En route, they pick up a seemingly friendly hitchhiker named Darryl (Shaun Sipos) at the gas station. It doesn't take long before Heather and her gang finally discover the address of the place where it turns out to be Verna's big mansion. Heather decides to stay for a while, while the rest of the gang are planning to have some fun around the mansion. When Heather and her gang drive out to get some groceries, Darryl chooses not to follow. It turns out that Darryl isn't exactly a trustworthy person after all when he takes his chance to loot the mansion for some valuable silverware. Then he discovers a locked room in the wine cellar somewhere at the kitchen. Unfortunately, what lurks inside the locked room is actually Leatherface (Dan Yeager), who is still alive after all and he's been waiting for a chance to escape.

After Leatherface brutally slayed Darryl, he proceeds to seek vengeance against the mob previously responsible for his family's death. In the meantime, Heather begins to learn a lot about the ugly truth of her family history.

As a strictly genre picture, Luessenhop really gets the job done with plenty of worthwhile tension and especially the way he depicts graphic violence to sickening effect. Alexandra Daddario is quite a sport here, and she is worthy enough to earn a title as a scream queen. Somewhere in between, there's a nice twist in the third act that rewrites the nature of Leatherface's character as well as the subsequent portrayal of Heather.

However, TEXAS CHAINSAW remains a disappointing entry. Luessenhop's overall direction is pedestrian, while the screenplay (written by Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan and Kirsten Elms) is mostly repetitive. Apart from Daddario's exceptional performance, other cast are instantly forgettable and I must say that Tania Raymonde's character is seriously annoying.

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