In the most recent addition to the Texas Chainsaw franchise, “Texas Chainsaw 3D” completely flips it on its head by removing key characters and including a seemingly misunderstood, pitiful Leatherface. It was a bold move by the filmmakers – a move that was not received with praise by a lot of hardcore fans of the franchise, but you know what? I actually think it works.
Picking up directly after the events of the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre from 1974, “Texas Chainsaw 3D” follows the story of a long lost relative of Leatherface, who was just a baby when her family was shot and burned alive by an angry mob of townspeople. She was rescued and adopted by one of the couples that was responsible for the death of her family. Now in her twenties, Heather receives a letter that her grandmother has passed and she has inherited the family mansion. Chaos and bloodshed are unleashed when she and her friends discover that Heather’s grandmother had a secret locked up in the basement – a secret with a face… and a shitload of chainsaws.
I was astonished when I got thirty minutes into the film and realized I was enjoying myself. It is so rare to watch a horror movie nowadays with quality entertainment value. Among a sea of found footage and possession movies, I found this to be quite a refreshing film. Full of the screaming, bloodshed, and abundance of motorized lumber tools we have all come to expect from the franchise, this one takes a very different turn than the past movies. Before, we would get other members of Leatherface’s deranged family in all of their psychotic, disgusting glory, but in this film we only get the chainsaw-toting murderer himself. That’s something I am perfectly fine with. While the sick family members have provided their own contributions to past films, having Leatherface in a stand-alone film (without being reliant on his family) builds more of a foundation for the character, nearly to the same level as Jason from the “Friday the 13th” franchise.
There is a funny moment in the film where we see the singer Trey Songz (the main character’s boyfriend) driving the group in a van while listening to one of his own songs. They’re listening to one of Trey Songz’… songs. It’s not even something that goes on in the background that you have to really look for, I mean, when the song comes on he looks at his girlfriend and smiles. It’s so bad. All I could do was shake my head, saying “Good grief” under my breath. Aside from that scene, I can’t really think of anything about which to complain.
Now, the scene that has some fans up in arms is one of the final scenes in the film. It depicts Heather and the sheriff watching as Leatherface massacre’s the town mayor, who coincidentally is the man responsible for burning down Leatherface’s home and killing his family all those years ago. The sheriff watches and does not interfere as Leatherface drops the mayor into some kind of meat grinding machine, after which the sheriff walks away, leaving Heather and Leatherface to leave together. Up until this point, it was made clear that Heather was related to Leatherface, but there was still a sense of terror considering he killed all of her friends, but now it seems like she has accepted her fate of becoming Leatherface’s caretaker. He goes back downstairs and closes the door and Heather picks up his plate of food from the floor and the credits roll. After the credits, Leatherface kills Heather’s adopted parents – the last people alive responsible for his family’s death. This ending provided the sense that Leatherface was still a possible future threat while giving him the caretaker he needs in order to make sure it stays that way. Come on, you all know as well as I do that Leatherface needs someone to look out for him. The movie HAD to end that way.
In closing, the movie is enjoyable, Leatherface is still an unstoppable force, and I really hope the prequel in production does the franchise justice.
This movie is…
Definitely give this movie a chance. Even if you’re not scared, I guarantee you will be entertained.
Cheers and goodnight.