I'm still waiting for a Leatherface film that doesn't try to explain why he's become the way he is. Much like in the original 1974 film, Leatherface is at his best when his origins and motives are ambiguous. Trying to decipher why he's such a twisted man is half the fun of the original, so giving him away ruins his entire character.
The 3D gimmick falls flat on its face, often appearing blurry during climactic moments. Every single actor is abysmal and the picture is lifeless. One thing the Michael Bay reboot had that the original didn't was a distinct and (at the time) fresh style. In Texas Chainsaw, beautiful shots of dry and dusty Texas are traded away for clumsy composition and lazy film-making techniques that almost beg you to point at the screen and call them out.
I wasn't expecting much, I'll be the first to admit. As a fan of the original, its sequel as well as the 2004 and 2006 remakes, I was about the only person they could have appealed to with this remake. If you screw up this badly with your only demographic, who the hell is there left? I just hope somebody with knowledge and common sense picks up the Texas Chainsaw Massacre namesake, but at this point it seems unlikely.
I can't go on without addressing the name, which is terrible. Should we be expecting a sequel just named "Texas?" I'm not exactly sure what anybody associated with this film was thinking when this was made, though it's made abundantly clear genuine thought was the last thing on anybody's mind.
I for one enjoyed this film... You have to take it for what it is, a cheesy slasher flick....but it pays homage to the original style of the 70's films... The 3D was well done, not over done, which over done would have probably been better for this style of movie..ha ha . Go to the movie to have fun and not critique it... you'll come out laughing and talking about some of the crazy parts... The cameos from the original stars were a good addition too! Just think I'm going to see a movie called Texas Chainsaw 3D... obviously it's not going to be Oscar material! ha ha..
Beyond all the pink-cheeked, bated-breath laudation that has come from critics and horror aficionados in the 38 years since the release of the original film, it's not a stretch to say that the two things that worked together so effectively in the execution of the original was the stark, naturally-lit and flat documentarian style of cinematographer Daniel Pearl and the sparse writing of Hooper and Henkel, whose utter lack of exposition lend a terrifying, claustrophobic immediacy in counterpoint to sun-baked Southern Gothic vistas, which place the viewer squarely and unremittingly in role of Hitchcock's man filming in the corner, with all of the legendary director's flinch-inducing atmospherics and not of whit of his restraint, such as it was.
With so much latitude in which to effect a direct sequel (apparently given a seal of approval by Hooper, undoubtedly for monetary incentive and despite his directing a direct sequel in 1986), with so little to hamper questions of plot or motivation, Texas Chainsaw 3D fails so completely and morosely that one might wonder for whom the film was even made, for it definitely was not for a viewer with any sense of taste or even the ability to do basic arithmetic.
It is generally understood that the events of the first film take place in 1973 or '74. Once this film left the confines of those few brief sequences which dovetail immediately from the end of original, in which a lynch mob and the most ineffectual sheriff ever are party, directly or indirectly, to picking off the entire Sawyer clan to which Leatherface is kin, and then burning the farmhouse to the ground, and a member of the mob inexplicably taking the lone babe of family home to raise as his own, we skip, by all accounts of vernacular, media, and what little of civilization we see before plunging back into the wilds of rural Texas, to be modern day; a tombstone later in the film confirms that the year is in fact 2012. From this, we must conclude one of two things: Heather Miller (the now grown-up Sawyer child from the intro, played by a disturbingly thin Alexandra Daddario) is either the youngest looking 40-year-old heroin chic store butcher (as heavy-handed a nod to the nature vs. nurture debate as I've seen in film since being lampooned in Trading Places) in the history of cinema, or people were picking up retarded hitchhikers in VW bugs while wearing bare-backed polyester fashions of the seventies sometime between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Rodney King riots. So far is this discrepancy from being explained that all reference to the date of the original film's events are limited to "August 19th" with the year consistently being deliberately obscured.
The rest of the cast is equally unremarkable in presence and abysmal in performance, from the Tonia Raymonde shedding her more tame bad-girl image from ABC's absurd Switched at Birth series to become the requisite slutty slasher-bait, inexplicably involved in a love triangle, never exposed or explained beyond its smarmy, innuendo-laced exposition, with Heather's boyfriend, played by Trey Songz, included no doubt in an attempt to add urban flair and coax minority viewers that are probably sick of seeing Caucasian kids lumber around stupidly and getting fileted in the dark woods.
The greatest disservice to the original material was the ridiculous attempt, by way of the Sawyer family slaughter at the beginning and the near single-minded thuggery of the lead vigilante, now serving as the town's mayor, to make Leatherface and company sympathetic characters, even swinging for the anti-hero fences when the bloodthirsty mayor meets his boring and contrived ending. Were the mayor and his retinue of good old boys terrible people for mowing down a slew of people and burning the house to ash with Molotov cocktails? Undoubtedly. But we should not forget those people were part of an inbred family of murdering, cannibal sadists, something that no amount of rural oppression can allow any sane person to ignore.
The film exists for the same reason that the sequel to the Blair Witch Project was released: to produce a sexualized, tangential story with hot young actors in a shameless attempt to cash in on a franchise name. At least Book of Shadows attempted a story even if it was a terrible one. Avoid this one, unless you have enough morbid fascination to see both the death of a franchise's self-respect, and one torn button-down shirt which maintained its wearer's modesty purely by proving that one of the few forces in nature greater than gravity is a non-nudity clause.