Sunday, January 6, 2013

Texas Chainsaw 3D

OK, you know there is no reason for you to see this if it does not interest you in the first place. Decent human beings and discerning movie goers will wisely stay away. This review will simply be for those depraved horror fans and goremeisters who wonder whether there is anything here for them to lap up. If you fall into either of those categories, there is a small amount of consolation for you here. All others should wait for a more varied horror film down the road. I will say that the trailer for the "Evil Dead" remake played with this, and although it was not the sick red band version that I saw on line, it still looks like something worthy.

I usually do not read reviews on other sites before I see a movie, because I want the impressions that I share to be mine. In this case I have made an exception and there is a reason that I mention this. "Fog's Movie Reviews" posted his evaluation yesterday, and I knew I was going to see this today regardless of what he said. In the talk back section one of his reader's mentioned a set of standards that his father uses for judging movies like this. I thought it was a sweet set of criteria to use, so I am going to borrow it and use it here to talk about my reaction the the film. His first standard is "Was it A Jumper?", how many times did it make you jump in your seat? Texas Chainsaw has several moments that attempt to get us to leap up out of fright. From my own personal reaction it worked 2 and 1/2 times. The first jump was not in a suspense scene at all, and it introduces an extra character to the story. I think it works because it was so out of context. The second jump I had, was right in context, I knew it was coming and it worked anyway. Looking into a dark area in a creepy basement, you know something is coming out of there, and it does, but like I said I bit and jumped a little. They go back to that well a couple of more times but do not get me to go with them. I added the 1/2 because even though the third shot did not get a jump, it was a slight intake of breath, and again, I knew it was coming.

The second question is “How’s the gore?” or is there a lot of gore? Is it realistic, or comedic?There was a fair amount of gore in the film. It is after all "Texas Chainsaw". The problem that I had was that the gore is not used in a suspenseful manner or for comedic effect. It usually occurs separate from the plot or the attacks on the victims. For example, it gives nothing away for me to tell you that at one point, "Leatherface" is clipping the fingers off of one of his victims, in the kitchen sink. The victim is already dead, we cut right to the shot and there was not dramatic intent, it was simply a gratuitous bit of gore, it served no point except to gross out the audience. If that is OK with you, then the gore quotient is probably high enough. At the very end, there is a pretty good sequence with a fight and the chainsaw and a giant meat grinder. This is the one place where the gore served a story point and satisfies a desire of the audience for an emotional reaction connected to the visceral.

The third criteria offered up by "Spikors" Dad is “How stupid is it?” How foolish is the comedy, or how horrible are the decisions that are made? There really is no comedy in the film. Not a single laugh to release tension and only a couple of laughs because the movie is so stupid. I don't like spoilers and I always try to avoid describing too much of the movie. I will simply say that there is a line that comes from our main heroine in that final sequence, when a secondary villain confronts our main antagonist, that is laugh out loud stupid. The movie tries to play both ends against the audience and this line shows a switch in  point of view that epitomizes why remakes are often problematic. When doing a movie like this, stick to the essentials and don't try so hard to set up an emotional backstory that will justify your sequel. There is plenty of stupidity preceding that line however, which makes all of the characters deserving of being carved up. Cops don't act like cops, rednecks treat everyone as if they are expendable, and characters lose their loyalty toward their friends because the story calls for it. I did like that some characters do change your original view of them before they are snuffed out, but I don't think this device is going to work for the main characters.

The best part of the movie was the opening summary of the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", which completely explains the events of the first film in the series in about three minutes during the credits. Everything that follows the truck death of the Sawyer brother from the original film, begins the process of trying to change the point of the movie. This seems inherently stupid when you already have a premise that works. I don't want to know what happened to Hannibal Lecter as a child to turn him into a monster, I want to know how he is going to act once he is that monster. I want to see how the victims are chosen, how they fight and how they die or escape. A pathological horror film is fine, but mixing it with a gore fest and then adding on characters that behave stupidly or inconsistently does not work well. Look, I did not hate the movie. It was actually pretty well made and directed. The script betrays all of the actors and the audience and that is the main downfall of this flick. The 3D is actually a good justification for seeing this. Chainsaws being thrust in your face is a lot more satisfying than watching the emotional turnaround of a horror franchise like this. 


Spikor said...

Sounds like you didn't enjoy it very much. Seems to be a trend. My interest is still piqued, though, since when it comes to this kind of movie, I'm mostly in it for the gore... Kinda disappointing that it's not more suspenseful or funny, though.

Glad you enjoy the ol' man's criteria. If we do end up checking it out this weekend, I'll be sure to stop by and say what we thought of it.

Richard Kirkham said...

Great, thanks for coming by, I hope to hear from you again.

Spikor said...

Said I'd let you know if I ended up seeing it. We went last night.