Since I’ve been writing for this website, going back two years, I’ve seen plenty of bland and uninspired – yet competent – films. Those are the worst to review, because their chief sin is to be dull. I can’t endorse them with passion, nor can I roll out my best adjectives to warn you away. To an entertainment writer, mediocre movies are like a house salad with no dressing: There’s nothing to sink one’s teeth into. So if a film isn’t going to be good, I want it to be bad. Really bad.
Texas Chainsaw 3D is the movie I’ve been waiting for.
You want something to sink your teeth into? Texas Chainsaw 3D is a big, old bucket of KFC super-crispy, extra-greasy fried chicken boiled in pure lard. It makes the 2003 reboot with Jessica Biel look like The Godfather and The Godfather Part II. We’re but a week into the new year, and I’m already comfortable declaring this the worst film of 2013, knowing full well that Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is still in the offing.
Texas Chainsaw 3D claims to be a direct sequel to the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre from 1974, which is one of the great modern-day horror flicks. Never mind that the original already had a direct sequel in 1986, in which the killer, Leatherface, dies. Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 (1990) has no connection to the first two, despite the sequential numbering, and the 2003 and 2006 entries reside in another universe, where Leatherface’s family name in not Sawyer but Hewitt. Got that? No? Good.
The set-up for this year’s edition is standard teen-horror formula: A group of unrealistically attractive twenty-somethings gets into a vehicle and drives off to a remote location, where no one can hear them scream. In this instance, a sexy supermarket employee named Heather (Alexandra Daddario) inherits an old house in the woods from her grandmother, and she invites her sexy friend Nikki (Tania Raymonde) and her sexy boyfriend Ryan (Trey Songz), plus two male models posing as characters, to go check the place out.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this proven horror-movie conceit, other than a lack of creativity. No one watches these things for innovative storytelling. But the story that has been wrapped around this particular group of characters is so absurd, the events so implausible, and the actions of the cast so unbelievable that the mind reels. And I’ve watched some dumb-ass horror movies.
If you are a masochist like me and intend to see this film, please stop reading, because I am going to ruin it. How do they do this on the internets again? Oh yeah, they say SPOILER ALERT in capital letters. One more time, for the record and out of fairness to the people who worked hard on this movie, despite the abysmal result: I am issuing an all-points SPOILER ALERT.
The film begins in 1974, moments after the events of the original movie conclude. The local sheriff shows up to arrest the Sawyer clan (which has somehow multiplied from 4 people to about 12) for all them murders they done, but he inexplicably allows a gang of local villagers to shoot the place up instead. Maybe he thought it was 1874?
According to this movie, the white trash, inbred Sawyer gang each wears a necklace with an S-shaped family crest, kind of like Superman. Typical of rural poor who subsist on squirrel hunting and selling rusty car parts, no? Anyway, the Sawyer house burns down, and baby Edith accidentally gets the Sawyer S burned into her chest by her mom’s overheated necklace.
The baby is rescued by the angry villagers and raised to be the hot, but trashy Heather I mentioned above. May I point out that this 20-year-old character, per the story, was born in 1974, and the film takes place in 2012? I don’t work for NASA or anything, but doesn’t that make her 38?
That’s nothing compared to Leatherface’s eternal youth, though. Within minutes of Heather and her friends arriving at the house she inherited, we learn that the chainsaw-wielding psycho is alive and well and living in the basement. Despite pushing 70, the brawny half-wit saws up Heather’s friends in short order and escapes into the night.
It must be something in the water down there, because the sheriff and the angry villagers from the prologue are not only still around in 2012, but none of them has aged a minute. The sheriff accidentally leaves a confidential file on the table (we know because of the red “confidential” stamp on the front), which reveals to Heather her true identity and that the current mayor was also the head angry villager. She flees the police station only to flag down a cop for help (zoinks), but the cop turns out to be the mayor’s son (double zoinks). Somehow the whole town knows she is really Edith Sawyer, and the young officer hauls her out to the local slaughterhouse so the angry villagers can kill her, I guess.
Really, here comes the big SPOILER I warned you about: For some reason, the cop leaves her tied up alone inside the slaughterhouse and leaves. Leatherface randomly shows up and is about to saw Heather in half when he notices the Sawyer S scar on her chest. Instead of killing her, he cuts her free and… yes, you guessed it, the two of them join forces to go after the angry rednecks. The woman who, up until an hour ago was a supermarket deli worker and had just witnessed the slaughter of her live-in lover and her best friend, decides to go bandit, Anakin Skywalker style. She’d much rather be a chainsaw maniac.
In the hands of a talented filmmaker, these absurdities could work on a satirical level, but the gang behind Texas Chainsaw 3D plays it straight and ends up with nothing but gales of unwanted laughter. And trust me, I’ve only hinted at the pitiful goings on. There is so much more to say, but I’d rather spend that energy building a time machine so I can go back and retrieve the 92 minutes I lost watching this inanity.
Eric rates Texas Chainsaw 3D: