While not quite on the tier of Halloween or Friday the 13th, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has spawned an abundance of sequels and remakes of its own. Texas Chainsaw 3D comes as a direct sequel to the original 1974 film and what better way to start of 2013 than a bunch of hot twenty-somethings getting chased around by Leatherface?
TC3D starts off with footage of the original film now converted to 3D. It looks gorgeous and serves as a nice refresher for those not familiar with the first film. After the footage, it picks up with cops driving to the Sawyer house demanding they hand Jed (Leatherface) over. This is presumably within just hours of Sally getting driven off to safety at the end of the first film due to the fact that the semi-truck is still sitting on the side of the road as the cops drive by. The family is ready to comply, however the town hicks show up and massacre (get it?) them. During the slaughter, one of them, for whatever reason, steals a baby and takes it home. Cut to present time when the now grown up woman inevitably finds out she’s adopted when she receives an estate in Newt, Texas from her grandma that just died.
There are two glaring plot holes from the initial setup. When the cops show up, there are about 12 Sawyers in the house, but at the end of the first film there was just Drayton, Jed, and the grandpa. The other is when it cuts to present-day, the now grown up Heather is in her early twenties when she should be nearly 40. Apparently nobody on the set could do simple math or they just chose to completely ignore this situation.
Once Heather (Alexandra Daddario) and her friends show up to the Sawyer Estate in Texas, it doesn’t take long for ol’ Leatherface to start sawing up some bodies and it’s a good thing because all of the characters other than Heather are just giant piles of stupid. I didn’t care about any of the characters, besides Heather, and the sloppy writing didn’t do much to help that fact. One particularly pointless subplot was that Heather’s boyfriend Ryan (Trey Songz) and friend Nikki (Tania Raymonde) were sleeping with each other on the side. This fact has absolutely no relevance to the movie at all and has no payoff whatsoever. Heather doesn’t even notice/care when Ryan and Nikki are running from the barn together half-naked. The annoying part of this is it’s such an easy fix. Just leave it out altogether or have Heather notice, get pissed, and instead of helping save their lives later on, she lets them die.
Complaints aside, once TC3D got going, I found myself being really entertained by the latter part of the film. The storyline developed into something far more interesting than I was anticipating and there are some good kills and obviously plenty of blood. I found myself actively rooting for both Heather and Leatherface by the end of the film. The 3D is also worth mentioning as a positive. TC3D had some scenes of objects popping out of the screen, but it wasn’t solely about that; it actually used the effect as a tool to immerse you in the world.
As long as you don’t go in expecting anything groundbreaking, TC3D offers a decent popcorn flick. It fails to capture the darkness and grittiness that made the original so memorable, but director John Luessenhop earns points for trying something new. If you’re looking for a movie where you can turn your brain off and be entertained, you could do a lot worse than this.