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Texas Chainsaw 3D(2013)
The seventh outing in the classic slasher horror franchise sees the return of chainsaw-wielding killer Leatherface. Alexandra Daddario stars as Heather, a young woman who travels to Texas with her boyfriend Ryan (Trey Songz) and two other friends to collect a family inheritance. On arrival, the friends realise to their horror that Heather's legacy includes the unwanted attentions of crazed murderer Leatherface (Dan Yeager) and his cannibalistic clan. The film features a cameo appearance from Gunnar Hansen, who played Leatherface in the original 1974 film.
For more about Texas Chainsaw 3D and the Texas Chainsaw 3D Blu-ray release, see Texas Chainsaw 3D Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on May 9, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Bill Moseley (I), Tania Raymonde, Alexandra Daddario, Scott Eastwood, Richard Riehle, Shaun Sipos
Director: John Luessenhop
» See full cast & crew
Texas Chainsaw 3D Blu-ray Review
That Leatherface—what a cutup.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, May 9, 2013
Any horror film aficionado knows it's next to impossible to keep a nefarious villain down. Even when it appears the bad guy has expired, it's a standard horror trope to have him (or occasionally her) spring suddenly back to life for one last shock before the final credits roll. But a number of horror franchises have taken almost ludicrous steps at times to keep their chief baddie coming back to wreak more havoc, a trend that might even be traced back to one of the most iconic horror films of all time, Frankenstein , where the first film ended with what one presumed was the death of the Monster. Bride of Frankenstein was just the first of many sequels that proved that the Monster wasn't quite dead yet. This "survivor's syndrome" returned with a vengeance in any number of much newer franchises, to one degree or another anyway, with a number of iconic villains returning to slice, dice and otherwise maim folks in series like Halloween, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, not to mention the many Saw films. Saw in fact evidently helped to inspire the latest in what has been yet another long running franchise with a seemingly indestructible villain, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its ubiquitous follow-ups, for once the rights to the original story reverted back to the original scenarists, things were set for yet another reboot. Texas Chainsaw 3D is, according to an interview included on this Blu-ray as a supplement, simply the first in what is planned as a six film series that is planned to be by design Saw-like in its (no pun intended) execution.
Texas Chainsaw 3D makes some relatively smart decision in attempting to reboot this vaunted franchise, not the least of which is revisiting the ending of the original film, albeit with newly filmed footage. While that decision is laudable, giving the audience context and a plausible through line, its actual execution ultimately leads to some (hopefully unintentional) laughs, as a series of people walks into Leatherface's lair and meets with a grisly demise. There's just something downright funny about this quasi-montage, where one person after the other calls out the previous victim's name, only to be attacked and summarily pummeled and/or hacked to death. The film then picks up with the burning of the farmhouse and the supposed death of Leatherface (see the above paragraph for how that turns out). One of Leatherface's kin is nursing a small baby, and while the mother expires in a gruesome shootout with the locals, her tiny infant survives.
Flash forward about twenty years and that infant has grown up to be Heather (Alexandra Daddario), a young woman who was adopted by the man who actually killed her mother and who has no inkling of her storied past. That all changes when Heather's biological grandmother dies and leaves her a large estate in Newt, Texas, something that forces Heather's adoptive parents to confess the truth—or at least as much of it as they're willing to come clean about, which includes no salient information about the horrifying murders Leatherface perpetrated nor any information about the deaths of Heather's own extended family in the resulting shootout. Heather is understandably distraught to have this sudden revelation thrust upon her and decides to leave for Texas immediately with several of her friends in tow.
She's met in the town by Farnsworth (Richard Riehle—I'll have more to say about Richard a bit later), who hands over the keys to the kingdom and quickly beats a path out of there, obviously only too aware of the history involved. Heather and her friends then begin exploring the premises, where something of a repeat of the opening montage happens, where at least a couple of characters venture into the basement, only to discover—well, guess. Let's just say Leatherface wasn't quite dead yet, if you catch my drift.
The central section of the film plays out pretty much as you would expect it to, with Leatherface capturing and horribly mutilating various victims. We of course have the requisite scene of frisky couples frolicking sexually only to meet their demise, and we have yet another unintentionally funny sequence where Heather finally comes face to face with Leatherface, is momentarily knocked out, but then wakes up and attempts to escape, managing to trip and/or fall over an unlikely series of items, all of which allows Leatherface to get up close and personal with the terrified woman.
The film does do a couple of relatively interesting things, however. As the third act gets underway, Heather becomes completely aware of her family's history and realizes that Leatherface is in fact her cousin. She begins to realize that the townspeople of Newt were collectively responsible for the deaths of (most) of her family. There's a palpable shift here in the film's depiction of who's the good guy and who's the bad, and there's actually one surprising revelation concering a supporting character who turns out to have a family connection which was previously undisclosed. Heather and Leatherface become unlikely allies in the closing moments of the film, obviously setting up things for the already announced sequel.
While a lot of Texas Chainsaw 3D is just laugh out loud ridiculous, it can't be denied that there are a fair number of chills scattered throughout the film. Some of these are just downright cheap (an LFE effect late in the film is attached to a simple scene of Leatherface touching Heather, something that produces the expected startle effect but which seems awfully manipulative), but quite a few are shudder worthy, including a couple of really graphic scenes of Leatherface going to work on various victims with his chainsaw. The film also has some intentional humor, some of which works quite well. After a climactic showdown with one of the bad guys, only the villain's hands remain above a pit. Leatherface looks down and casually kicks them in to where the rest of the mangled corpse lies, obviously "cleaning up" his dirty work.
I mentioned Richard Riehle above and want to spend just a moment on this great character actor, one whom many of you would recognize by face if not by name. It just so happens that Richard grew up across the street from my wife in a tiny town outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Richard was kind of the "leader" of the neighborhood kids, and Richard's younger sisters often babysat for my wife and her siblings when they were little. Richard came to a reunion of my wife's family in Los Angeles a few years ago and he's a wonderfully genuine, low key individual. He's been in a lot of excellent films and television series through the years, but I frankly felt a little sorry for him having to appear in something this unremarkable. Hopefully it provided a sizable paycheck.
Texas Chainsaw 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
Texas Chainsaw 3D is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate Films with both MVC (3D) and AVC (2D) encoded 1080p transfers in 2.40:1. This is a rather impressive looking high definition presentation, despite lots of tinkering in post that variously color grades several sequences or intentionally distresses others to give them an "old" appearance. Colors are generally very robust, especially the lurid reds that populate the many chainsaw and mallet sequences. Fine object detail is also very commendable in the film's close-ups (one extreme close-up of Leatherface sewing a new visage onto his skull may in fact have a bit too much fine detail for some people). Contrast is generally strong, though the film seems a tad dark at times (probably intentionally), leading to a lack of shadow detail.
The 3D presentation here is generally impressive, though perhaps surprisingly some of the literally "in your face" elements, like Leatherface proferring his chainsaw straight out toward the camera, work less effectively than some of the more subtle elements, some relatively simple like a large tree in the foreground which gives a clear indication of spatial depth. Commendably there aren't a lot of outright gimmicky shots in the film, and instead the 3D imagery is presented more or less organically within the confines of the mansion and grounds that Heather and her friends wander through.
Texas Chainsaw 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Texas Chainsaw 3D's lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix is expectedly hyperbolic but is no less enjoyable for that fact. The track is of course full to the brim with fantastic panning buzzing effects as Leatherface wields his chainsaw to and fro, and there are the requisite LFE effects meant to provoke startle responses (which they inevitably do). The best sequences in terms of surround activity are two of the chase segments, one where two people are trapped in a barn while Leatherface tries to get through the door and another, slightly later, one where these two along with Heather are manically attempting to get away in a van which of course won't start. Fidelity is excellent and dynamic range is extremely wide.
Texas Chainsaw 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Texas Chainsaw 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Texas Chainsaw 3D is undeniably laughable some of the time, but it also has some very effective sequences. My hunch is franchise aficionados are going to be split down the middle (hmmm. . .how appropriate) on this release, with some liking (or at least tolerating) this reboot and others hating it down to its bloody guts. Whatever your personal reaction, you may well want to check out this Blu-ray for the really stellar assemblage of supplementary material, including three very interesting commentaries.
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Texas Chainsaw 3D Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Texas Chainsaw 3D Blu-ray - February 27, 2013
This Spring, Lionsgate Films is bringing Texas Chainsaw 3D to Blu-ray. The pulse-pounding horror film stars Alexandra Daddario, Tania Raymonde, Scott Eastwood and Dan Yeager, and continues the story of the homicidal Sawyer family, picking up where Tobe Hooper's ...
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