Saturday, January 5, 2013

Texas Chainsaw 3D

Since this one's still brand new, and many people who are planning to watch it haven't had the chance to do so yet, I feel obligated to include a MAJOR SPOILER WARNING on this little write up. The short, spoiler free version of what I'm going to ramble on about below is this:

The good: the first 10 minutes, The bad: The rest of the movie.

Read further at your own risk...

So, as with any new entry into a beloved horror franchise, I entered the theater Thursday night with a sliver of hope, but not really expecting anything other than getting disappointed. For whatever reason, and honestly your guess is as good as mine, I actually had a pretty good feeling about TC3D. I guess it was all the advertising, the art had that old, gritty look to it, and the trailers didn't look all that bad either. Well friends, let me tell you, I walked out of the theater proclaiming TC3D as my first real disappointment of 2013. As a matter of fact, not only was I disappointed, I kinda hated it. If you read this blog a lot, you'll know that I'm pretty forgiving normally, and can find at least something to like in most things, no matter how bad they are. Well not this time.

Being that this is generally where I do the synopsis, I'm stating ONE more time, I'm posting huge SPOILERS here. The film begins just minutes after Sally Hardesty escapes the Hewitt's in Tobe Hooper's 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre, apparently she's gone to the Sheriff, and I don't know if she didn't give him a ton of details, or if he's just under the impression that he's Shaft (one bad mother), but dude rides straight up to the Hewitt house all by his lonesome. After a shouting match between himself and the Hewitt's (mostly Bill Moseley!), he's soon joined by a lynch mob of rednecks looking to exact their own form of justice. The rednecks firebomb the house, and open fire, basically killing everyone inside. Two of the Hewitt's manage to escape with their infant daughter, but their caught outside and killed, and the baby is taken. Fast forward to today (?) and although it's been almost 40 years, the baby has only made it to somewhere around her early 20's?! She's also a goth-ish chick, who slices meat in the local supermarket, and makes weird art from animal bones (groan, and DOUBLE GROAN). She receives a letter informing her that a distant relative has died, and left her a house in Texas. Road trip!

So she, her boyfriend (Trey Songz, groan), and two other friends from the supermarket all load up in a van and head toward Texas. Along the way, they pick up one other traveler, a hitchhiker (staple of the TCM franchise and all that). From here, the film is fairly close to the formula, they arrive at the house, eventually discover that Leatherface is in the basement, chainsawery ensues. Fast forward a bit, and Heather (goth girl) manages to escape and get back into town. Here's where things really pissed me off. Turns out the town is comprised mostly of grown up versions of the rednecks who made up the lynch mob that torched the Hewitt's, and they're none too happy that the "one that got away" is back in town. When she goes to the police for help, one thing leads to another, and Heather ends up on the run from them too. She's finally captured, and taken to a slaughter house on the outskirts of town. Leatherface has also made his way, albeit slooooowly, to said slaughter house. What happens next is hands down the most ridiculously stupid thing in Texas Chainsaw history. I don't remember if it's ever addressed either way, but Heather has a mark on her chest which is either a brand, or a birthmark, which labels her as a Hewitt. When Leatherface notices it, he recognizes her as family, and ends up helping her against the redneck cops. Yes, friends, Leatherface becomes a good guy. What. the. FUCK. Of course the two of them triumph over the rednecks, return to the house, and it seems as though Heather has officially accepted her role as a member of a clan of murderous, psychotic cannibals and decides to live in the house with Leatherface, her chainsaw wielding maniac of a cousin. Whom, until he tried to murder her just hours earlier that night, she had never even met before. Roll credits.

People, I'm willing to let a lot of things go when it comes to character developments in movies. I'm not one of those people who is unable to suspend belief and just go with things. But come ON. This is a character who, aside from a white trash upbringing and a strange desire to make art from animal bones, appears to be at least fairly normal. Then a maniac wearing a mask made of human flesh chainsaws most of her friends to death, then some redneck cops try to kill her, then she finds out she's related to chainsaw maniac, who then helps her against the rednecks, and her first thought isn't "I'm getting the MOTHERFUCK OUT OF HERE.", it's "This is home now, I must live here and cook PEOPLE for my chainsaw wielding maniac of a cousin to eat." Give me a fucking break. It took no fewer than THREE people to write this shit?

Texas Chainsaw 3D managed in it's first 10 minutes to take away exactly what makes TCM films so great, the FAMILY. Sure, he's the "face" of the franchise, but it's most certainly not all about Leatherface. Take the remake and prequel for instance, say what you will about Andrew Bryniarski, but in my opinion R. Lee Ermey is way fucking scarier as Sheriff Hoyt. I love Leatherface of course, but I love the fact that his family is even fucking crazier than he is. The other thing that bugged me about it was that the cannibalism aspect is implied and hinted at, but they never really come out and say it. Leather chainsaws a couple of people, and while there are plenty of bones strewn about, we never get that scene with everybody at the table that I always love so much in a TCM movie. Being that Leatherface most likely can't cook, I guess he just hasn't eaten in the time between Grandma's death and Heather and co.'s arrival?

There was no way this movie was going to please everybody. But my God, it almost seems as if they were not only not trying to please fans, but intentionally piss them off. Everything about this movie felt wrong to me. The performances were bad, Dan Yeager is unintimidating and unimpressive in every way as Leatherface, and as with most "made for 3d" flicks, the cgi was pretty awful in 2d. If I absolutely had to say something positive, I suppose the first few minutes of the movie were pretty good, but that was just a recap of what happened in Hooper's classic TCM 74. Oh, and there was one kill, not by Leatherface, which made me laugh. Everything else sucked ass though. I haven't been this disappointed by a movie I decided to see in a theater since the Nightmare on Elm Street remake, and say what you will about that one, but at least they didn't make the parents who torched him the bad guys and Freddy a hero. Fuck Texas Chainsaw 3D.

Side note! The whole night wasn't a wash. The theater I saw this piece of shit in was one of my favorite spots in Atlanta, The Plaza. They're not known for showing first runs of major releases like this, they tend to show more obscure things. For example, I saw Hobo With a Shotgun and Troll Hunter there, but the theater recently came under new ownership, and the guy is really pushing for The Plaza to be Atlanta's home for horror. I also got to meet Nathan from Son of Celluloid! He was there celebrating the second birthday of his badass blog. Super cool cat, it was great meeting and chatting with him. I urge anyone who isn't to go and check out his site.

1 comment:

Maynard Morrissey said...

I agree with almost everything you wrote here. What a lousy stinking piece of shit. I hated it.