Review: 'Chainsaw' loving homage to '74 original
This undated publicity film image from Lionsgate shows John Dugan, left, as Grandpa Sawyer, and Bill Moseley, center, as Drayton Sawyer, in a scene from "Texas Chainsaw 3-D," releasing in theaters on Friday, January 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionsgate, Justin Lubin)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Watching "Texas Chainsaw 3-D," the latest screen incarnation of the iconic chainsaw-wielding maniac Leatherface, the mind fairly reels. This purported direct sequel to Tobe Hooper's 1974 horror classic cheerfully ignores that director's own 1986 follow-up, the 1997 and 2003 remakes, the 2006 prequel and even its basic timeline. It scores points for sheer brazenness.
But aside from its being an obviously loving homage to the original — even including 3-D-enhanced clips from it in the opening credits — there isn't much to recommend this installment whose main point of originality is omitting the word "Massacre" from the title.
The opening sequence takes place directly after the final scene of Hooper's film, depicting a Waco-like encounter in which the house containing Leatherface and his cannibalistic family burns to the ground with all its occupants presumably dead. Except for a baby, who is promptly adopted and, as we soon see, grows up in Oklahoma to be the beautiful Heather (Alexandra Daddario).
This undated publicity film image from Lionsgate shows theatrical key art for a poster from the movie, "Texas Chainsaw 3-D," releasing in theaters on Friday, January 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Lionsgate)
Cut to roughly twenty years later, when Heather learns of her origins after being left a Texas mansion by her late grandmother. She and her friends promptly head off in a van to check out her inheritance which, unbeknownst to them, is still the home of the hulking Leatherface (Dan Yeager).
The film's first half follows conventional horror movie tropes as the heroine and her hottie companions — boyfriend Ryan (rapper Tremaine 'Trey Songz' Neverson), BFF Nikki (Tania Raymonde), her new crush Kenny (Keram Malicki-Sanchez) and a hunky hitchhiker (Scott Eastwood) — are pursued by the chainsaw-wielding inhabitant with predictably lethal results. But not before all of them bare as much skin as possible.
Things take a somewhat more complex turn later on when Heather finds herself in an unlikely alliance with her deranged relative against the town's corrupt mayor (Paul Rae) and his minions. Leatherface is even given a rather sympathetic treatment, depicted as being something of a misunderstood, overgrown child whose propensity for tearing off his victims' faces is but an extreme example of adolescent rebellion.