Why Texas Chainsaw 3D Is Just Bizarre And Awful

Masks from the Texas Chainsaw 3D poster.

Texas Chainsaw 3D is the best film in the series since the original. However, it isn’t the best film because it’s a good movie. It’s the best film because it’s so bizarre that it’s fascinating. I’m not sure why the filmmakers chose to do it the way they did, but all in all, I was thoroughly entertained.

I don’t apologize for spoiling any part of the movie.

The film opens with a 3D recreation of the first film. This goes pretty smoothly until they decide that, in a close up shot, they should replace the now deceased Jim Siedow with Bill Moseley as the character of Drayton Sawyer. It wouldn’t be a problem if A) they made this new close-up look anything like the rest of the footage in this montage or B) they got Bill to look at least a little like Jim. However both of these things occur, and it’s jarring to see grainy 70’s footage suddenly cut to a shot of a man that looks like it was taken with a camcorder. Also, Bill, despite his best Siedow impression, comes off more as a Halloween costume than as an actual character.

We then go to minutes after the end of the original film, as rednecks pull up to the Sawyer house, followed by a Police Chief. The Chief wants to handle this smoothly and the rednecks want to handle this redneck-ly, and it becomes apparent that the rednecks are extended members of the Sawyer family. One of the rednecks is played by Gunnar Hanson, who was Leatherface in the original Chainsaw, but it doesn’t matter much, because he mostly exists to grimace and talk about Leatherface being “simple.”

The dance of death at the end of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

More rednecks show up to the house, but these are “evil” rednecks, who want revenge on the other evil-er rednecks, showing the first grey areas of a movie filled with grey areas. The evil rednecks open fire on the house and slaughter everyone inside. After the house burns, one of the rednecks finds a woman clutching a baby. He takes the baby, front kicks the dying mother to death, and then decides, with his wife, to pull a Raising Arizona and take the baby for them selves.

This all takes place in 1973, but we cut to 2012, with the Sawyer baby now teenaged and hot, cutting meat in a grocery store, because genetics don’t so much influence physical features as they do career paths. So that the hot girl didn’t have to be forty, the film strays away from any references to the original film being set in 1973. This is odd, because they bring up the month and day, August 19th, a hell of a lot, and, in the grand scheme of whatever plot the writers were trying to fashion together, it doesn’t mean fuck-all by the end.

So, the girl, Heather finishes cutting meat, meets up with her hot friend, Nikki, who slaps her ass at one point, so we know she’s getting laid later, and they talk about the upcoming road trip to New Orleans. Heather goes home to her boyfriend, Trey Songz, who is punching and kicking a punching bag. Now, in movie lingo, you’d expect his pugilistic physical fitness techniques to come into play later. Like, how, in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the gymnast daughter kicks a Velociraptor out a window and saves Jeff Goldblum, you expect Trey Songz to say, “Man, you a buzz kill, motherfucker!” and punch Leatherface, saving Jeff Goldblum. This never happens, and it was my second disappointment with the film.

Jeff Goldblum's daughter in The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Problem solver.

My first disappointment was with the acting jobs everyone does. I know there are some experienced actors in this film, but everyone recites their lines like they’ve just had a script shoved in their hands in the middle of their job at Big Lots. Trey Songz, thankfully, doesn’t have a lot to say, other than coyly asking for sex while his girlfriend makes artwork out of bones, once again telling the audience “Eh, eh? SHE’S RELATED!”

Their making out is interrupted by a letter saying that Heather’s grandmother, who she was unaware of before the news, has died and left Heather her property. Heather confronts her parents about this, and her parents act stand-offish, with the father making it very clear that he regrets kicking that dying woman and saving the baby. Heather goes back to her apartment, and Trey Songz has invited Nikki and Mid-Twenties-Good-Looking-White-Male-One over to ease the pain of having parents who openly dislike you. I wish I had a Trey Songz in my life.

They all decide that their road trip would be much better spent going to Texas and checking out Heather’s Grandma’s house. On the way, they run into Mid-Twenties-Good-Looking-White-Male-Two, who hitches a ride with them. I call them all by this name, because, and I don’t know if biologists were aware of this, but, at a certain point in their mid-twenties, all white guys look the same.

They go to the house, which is huge, and check out everything. Mid-Twenties-Good-Looking-White-Male-Two puts a country song on the record player, Trey finds a pool table and plays Nikki, who makes embarrassingly unfunny jokes about her breasts and Mid-Twenties-Good-Looking-White-Male-One gets a big boner about all the stuff he can cook in the house, his one character detail that extends beyond looking like other characters.

Meanwhile, Heather finds the family graveyard, in a scene that means nothing and lasts forever. There are no revelations made and no plot details uncovered, but god damn, does Heather love staring at names on tombstones.

The original four decide to go to town, while MTGLWM2 decides to stay behind and unpack. This leads to him unpacking the whole house as it turns out that he’s a thief, his single character detail. He ends up using this giant key, given to Heather by a lawyer, and goes into the cellar where he meets Leatherface, who bashes his head in with a sledgehammer.

Leatherface, who is constantly referred to as being a large guy, does not come off that way in this movie, due to the director’s constant refusal to shoot him in angles that make him look big. Instead, he’s usually shown in full view, dwarfed by his giant, poor excuse for a set, house. Also, let me add that this is the weirdest Leatherface mask ever. Instead of anything resembling human skin, they choose to put him in something that makes him look sort of like a retarded Christmas goblin.

The poster for Texas Chainsaw 3D.

It is certainly a new chapter.

In town, the gang buys supplies for a party, and Nikki grabs Trey’s junk. Trey reveals that he and Nikki once had sex, but Trey tells her to cut that out, so now Trey and Nikki have depth as well. While out, Heather meets the Mayor and MTGLWM3, who’s a cop. MTGLWM3 makes the most of his time on screen by standing at awkward angles and saying his lines like he’s the main speaker at a We Failed To Do Anything About Autism Benefit Dinner.

The crew gets back to the house, find it wrecked, and decide that it would be much better to just party. MTGLWM1 makes steaks, while Nikki smokes pot and Heather investigates the house. Nikki looks lustily at Trey Songz, and my favorite part of the movie starts.

Trey is playing pool while the song “2 Reasons” plays. “2 Reasons” is a song by Trey Songz himself, making the film very meta. I half expected Trey Songz to pick up the phone and phone his cousin, Trey Songz, and ask him about that new sound he’s been looking for. Also, “2 Reasons” is the only non-country song in the film, leading me to believe that the two records that Granny Sawyer owned were “Country Classics Volume 1” and “Chapter V”, the latter by Trey Songz.

“2 Reasons” lasts about ten minutes, because the death of MTGLWM1 is edited so oddly. It feels like the song, despite other stuff going on, always resumes for the last spot where it was played most loudly, as if Trey Songz paused it whenever the movie cut to MTGLWM1 is on screen, and then pressed play whenever he realized that he was in the movie again.

MTGLWM1 is killed when he gets a hook in the back and is drug down some stairs. Nikki convinces to Trey to come to the barn, under the guise of her being hysterically afraid. Trey decides that his frigid, house exploring girlfriend is way less appealing then the girl who pulled on his dick in the Frozen Foods section, so he has a tequila picnic with her, and you assume that they have sex.

Trey Songz in Texas Chainsaw 3D.

Heather ends up finding an old, dead woman in a room upstairs and is then knocked out, watches Leatherface cut apart MTGLWM1, gets up, runs away, and is chased by Leather face out of the house, all in the space of a few minutes. She ends up hiding in a coffin in the family cemetery, leading to the end of the trailer that everyone saw, where Leatherface starts sawing into the coffin. Trey and Nikki get Leatherface’s attention and he comes after them. Nikke says “Welcome to Texas, motherfucker!” and shoots at him point blank, but misses, because the movie has decided that, at this point, Nikki can’t do anything right.

Heather picks up Trey and Nikki in her van and Trey drives away as Leatherface pursues. They have to get through the gate that blocks the entrance to the house and Trey sounds cool saying “Buckle up!” just as the van bounces against the gate and doesn’t fucking do anything. They eventually get through, but not before Leatherface cuts the tires and van un-dramatically flips over. Trey Songz gets his just desserts for being a cheater, as he is dealt the lamest death in the movie: he gets glass shards in his throat. Bitches and the drinks, indeed.

Nikki will have to wait to get her repercussions, as Heather draws Leatherface’s attention away from the van and to a carnival. Leatherface follows her in, faces down with, I shit you not, a guy dressed as the Jigsaw killer in that dumb looking pig suit, and scares him off. Take that, other Twisted Pictures brand character. You can’t mess with the classics, or something!

Heather decides that her best bet would be to hang on a ferris wheel seat, which I think she assumes just goes to the top and stops, rather than coming back around, bringing her back towards Leatherface again. Luckily, MTGLWM3 is there, and he tells Leatherface to drop the chainsaw. Leatherface throws the chainsaw at MTGLWM3, making sure to remind viewers that this is 3D for some misguided reason,  and then runs, in the sissiest manner possible, back into the woods.

Fence cutting in Texas Chainsaw 3D.

I promise. It was way more suspenseful in the theatre.

Heather is taken to the police station, where she finds out her past because some careless police officers left every bit of evidence that they had about the Texas chainsaw massacres sitting in a box, on a chair beside her. This, like many parts of the movie, takes far longer than it should, because the editor decided that we needed to read along with Heather about all of the plot points that we were already fucking privy to.

The Mayor and the Police Chief talk angrily and aimlessly, until a deputy finds the flipped van and discovers a blood trail leading back to the house. The Police Chief, who logically has power over his force, can’t stand up to the Mayor being the Mayor, who insists that the deputy follow the blood trail. We also have discovered that Leatherface’s real name is Jedidiah, which is, ironically, the name of the little boy in the Platinum Dunes TCM remake. I imagine that this was done in an X-Men: First Class style attempt to tie continuities together and have no one care at all.

The deputy follows the trail into the house, and the whole procedure is shown through the video camera on his iPhone, so we’re treated to a lengthy commercial for how great that product is at illuminating scenes of mass carnage. Along the way, he discovers Nikki in the freezer, and she’s still alive until the deputy gets spooked by just how much she’s in the freezer and shoots her in the head. It’s sort of justifiable.

The deputy gets axed to death and has his face sliced off. Heather escapes from the police station and meets her lawyer at a bar, wearing a shirt that MTGLWM3 gave her, because her first shirt was covered in blood and her friends and shit. She only buttons one button, so you’re distracted from everything else, because you want her to button up the rest of the shirt. But, as you’ll soon learn, there is a method behind this cleavage madness.

Alexandra Daddario and Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw 3D.

This was shirt 1.

Heather meets her lawyer at a bar, where the original chainsaw from the original film is hung up as a sort of trophy. At this point, the film has lost all traces of pace and momentum, because nothing helps tighten the coil of suspense like a gentle conversation in a bar in the final act of a movie about chainsaw murders.

Eventually, the Mayor finds out where she is and he and a buddy pursue her out of the bar. She cuts the buddy and escapes into the backseat of MTGLWM3’s police car. Big mistake, as it turns out that MTGLWM3 is the son of the Mayor who knows everything and is now the true bad guy in a movie about chainsaw murders, because he wants revenge and the chainsaw family just wanted to devour helpless people in peace. Heather makes very little effort to escape her predicament and just hisses “I’m a Sawyer.” The first level of grief is Acceptance.

Leatherface's closet in Texas Chainsaw 3D.

MTGLWM3 drives Heather to the slaughterhouse, because it’d be better to kill her in a set piece than to do it easily and efficiently. Leatherface picks out his outfit, which includes a comically small tie and huge chainsaw, and goes to the slaughterhouse too, because the two Sawyers are psychic, or at least that’s what I’d like to think the reason is. Leatherface discovers Heather’s birthmark, MADE ONLY POSSIBLE BY MIDRIFF AND UNDER BOOB, and lets her free. The Mayor and his buddy come into the slaughterhouse and a tag team match starts between Team Sawyer and Team Villain(?).

However, the tag champs, Team Villain(?) are much better at not sucking and end up beating up Heather and Leatherface. Leatherface is tied up and almost dragged into a meat grinder but, and I know it sounds crazy, but some screenwriter actually thought it was a good idea, Heather pitchforks the buddy, and tosses Leatherface his chainsaw, saying “Do your thing, cuz!” I swear to god, Heather saying “Cowabunga” and throwing a flaming skateboard at the Mayor’s head would’ve been a better decision than automatically turning the Texas Chainsaw series into the lamest, most oddball thing in the world.

Leatherface cuts the Achilles Tendons of the Mayor, just as the Police Chief arrives in order to not do anything. I imagine that MTGLWM3’ is just outside, waiting and having a victory cigarette. The Mayor gets pulled into the meat grinder and the Police Chief just tells Team Sawyer to clean up the mess, before leaving. Trust me, I’m just as confused as you are at this point.

Leatherface revving his chainsaw in Texas Chainsaw 3D.

Rocking out.

Team Sawyer goes home  after a hard days killin’ and Heather attempts to clean up the blood on Leatherface’s human face, but he gets filled with homicidal angst and doesn’t let her. Heather reads a letter written by her Grandmother, letting her know that Leatherface is a gentle creature, who will protect her as long as she takes care of him. Texas Chainsaw: Breaking Dawn Part 2 in theatres, 2014.

Heather finds it totally reasonable to take care of her hulking, maniac, skin-wearing cousin and ends the film by carrying his dinner tray upstairs. The credits roll, and after them, Heather’s foster parents show up to the house, only to be met at the door by Leatherface. This might be a “joke”, if wasn’t followed by imagining the tortured screams of two people who did nothing to deserve their fate.

Thanks for this one, Twisted Pictures. I knew you had it in you.

 

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