Monday, October 19, 2015

Texas Chainsaw (2013)

Why is it that the concept of Leatherface is so hard to do now? I mean, the remake wasn't the worst thing ever, but it seems the major issues aren't actually with a remake this time. No, the issues with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series is when they actually try to continue it from the original films. You may recall that I covered the previous attempt to "continue" the series and...I was not a fan. While some people seem to actually enjoy that movie, I personally found it to be a strange and painful experience. I said "what?" aloud so many times while watching it, the other people in the house thought I was on Skype.

I don't get on Skype much anymore because video calls got...uncomfortable.

As a concept, this character and these movies shouldn't be that hard to handle. You can even have a lot of fun with it, which they did in the sequel to the original film. And yes, I do intend to talk about that movie at some point. But, as confusing and annoying as The Next Generation was, I can at least say it made some sort of chronological sense. None of the characters were really meant to be the exact same people, as best I can figure. I'm fairly certain that even the Leatherface we got in there wasn't the same character, what with him acting almost nothing like that brutal psycho we'd all seen previously. In comes this film, a new addition to the series that brings back not just Leatherface but also the other members of his family. Hell, it gives us the extended family too. The amount of Sawyers in this film is really kinda mind-boggling. We also get cameo appearances by Texas Chainsaw Massacre alumni as Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns, and Bill Moseley all show up in new roles.

"Sorry about that time I tried to kill and eat you. You look good though."
Surely a film that brings to together beloved actors who are already a big part of the history of this series can't possibly be too bad, right? Well...things happen that do feel like Texas Chainsaw Massacre type stuff. And Leatherface is imposing again, which is good. But this was marketed as a 3D film, which means we're going to get some silly "coming at you" events. To be fair though, I do like when silly things happen in movies like this. Friday the 13th 3-D is still a ton of fun for how silly its gimmick is. All being said, I am going into this movie with the hope that it will be entertaining in some way. I don't know if I can handle another movie in this series that just annoys and confuses me.

It's always something when the movie says it for you.
Picking up directly from the closing events of the original film, right down to showing some scenes, our tale kicks off with Sheriff Hooper showing up to the Sawyer house where he confronts the family about what happened. Drayton (played by Moseley) isn't happy and seems to have called in the whole extended family to defend their home, if need be. Hooper tells them that Jed (Leatherface) has to face justice and, after being encouraged by Boss Sawyer (played by Gunnar Hansen), Drayton agrees to send his boy off to pay for his crimes done supposedly in defense of their home. Now, this is where an interesting idea is put forth, which is that Leatherface felt he was simply protecting his home from strangers who wandered onto their property. The problem with this idea though is that it's fairly obvious that the family were all in on it and were clearly implied to be eating the people who were killed. This movie is trying to paint a group of cannibals in a sympathetic light.

I love Bill Moseley, but he can't really do sympathetic. The closest he came was on a cartoon.
Now, I can't be certain that all of the Sawyers were into eating people, but at the very least they must have known about it. I can't imagine there wasn't a moment at Thanksgiving where they noticed something was odd about the way the food tasted. But yes, they decide to give up Leatherface so the whole family doesn't go down, which the sheriff is game for. Enter stage right, the crazy mob of rednecks who tend to always make situations drastically worse. This guy Burt and his gang of people, who honestly make the Sawyers look less inbred by comparison, show up and it results in the entire Sawyer family being gunned down and burned in their home. Do you know what this means? It means, my lovely readers, that this is one of those movies that looks at the films that came before it and has summarily decided they don't matter. It means that in this one scene they essentially choose to ignore Texas Chainsaw Massacre's two sequels that are actually fairly enjoyable and instead make it so the events of those films could not happen in this new alternate timeline.

Which means Leatherface never gets to be the best uncle ever.
What is it with the overabundance of alternate timelines when trying to revive a beloved film series? Can we just not try and build on what was there before? Must we try to wipe away everything? This is the sort of thinking that drove me away from DC Comics for the most part. It feels lazy and cheap. It also makes it so the awesome things that happened in the two now erased sequels are simply things that didn't happen. It feels like the attitude is that this movie's vision is better, so fuck those other movies.

Why does that idea sound so horribly familiar?
Moving on from my massive gripe that this movie has more confidence than it deserves, we see one of the redneck assholes finds a surviving Sawyer lady who is begging him to help her baby. He carefully takes and comforts the baby, then kicks the dying woman in the face so hard that she promptly dies along with the rest of her family. He brings the baby to his wife and we can see where this is going. And the close-up of Leatherface's door is fairly telling too, especially when you consider they'd never do a movie in this series without him in it, as it might require creative writing. Fast forward to modern day and we see the baby has grown up into a young woman named Heather. Wait...modern day...as it now-ish? And she's young? But...wait...wait wait wait...I know I'm bad at math, but this isn't adding up.

But hey, at least they didn't include a scene where Leatherface reveals himself to a big crowd, right?
So, the original film took place in the 1970s and Heather here was a baby. Now, in this film's current day setting of 2012-2013, she's in here 20s. Do you see the problem here? Because I am literally drowning in how stupid this is. I mean, really? REALLY? Was it that hard to set the movie in the 80s or 90s? I happen to know of several films from the last few years that managed to pull that off fairly well on much lower budgets and yet this movie, with its $20 million budget, can't make the actors dress like they're from a period of time where this film might actually make some semblance of sense? Hell, forgoing that, couldn't they have just gotten rid of all the elements in the film that clearly make it clear that it was set in 2012-2013? No cell phones, no modern music, no modern pop culture references, no modern vehicles. Simple. I'm sorry, but fuck you if my bitching about this gets on your nerves. I refuse to let this go! The people who made this movie are lazy and they deserve to be called out on it!

They're even so lazy that they left "Massacre" out of the title. The fucks!
Overlooking the little fact that this film makes no sense chronologically, which is something that even my young niece pointed out when asking about movies on my shelf, as I ended up having to explain all of what I just said to you to her....minus the foul language. Overlooking all of that, our film is about Heather as she learns that she's adopted. And she learns this via a letter informing her that her grandmother died. Yes, she confronts her parents with this and learns she was a Sawyer and we learn that her parents are basically just as shitty now as they were when they massacred an entire family in their home. Other than Heather, we have boyfriend Ryan, his friend Kenny who is dating her bestie, and said bestie Nikki filling the "slutty girl" role. Now, please stow those torches and pitchforks, I do not believe in slut-shaming in the least and I firmly believe that people are entitled to do as they want. But Nikki is, much like the others, here to fit into a horror movie stereotype role. Also, she's fucking her best friend's boyfriend behind her back while also dating his friend. She's a horrible person and is not worthy of being defended.

Yeah, you just keep smiling...
Anyway, Heather's grandma left her everything she had, which includes a big ass house. Since the group were planning on taking a trip to Louisiana, they decide to stop there to check out her new inheritance and to make sure we're allowed to see them die horribly. Along the way they pick up a hitchhiker.

No, not that one. He's pretty damn dead.
The hitchhiker is, of course, another attractive young person named Darryl and he actually has money and offers to pay his way. From there it's basically a waiting game with him, because you know he's not on the level. I don't care how pretty he is. They arrive and meet with the lawyer who gives her the deeds, info, keys, and a letter that he notes repeatedly that Heather needs to read as soon as possible. Guess what? Yeah, she's not going to read that letter until the end of the movie. They go to the house, Darryl sends them out to buy steaks for him to grill, he starts robbing the place, Leatherface caves his head in because he's living in the cellar. In town we're introduced to attractive hero cop, Carl, and the mayor, who just happens to be the redneck that led a mob to kill Heather's entire family without mercy. He tries to buy her house, she ignores him and they return to find Darryl and multiple things are missing, they continue partying, Nikki fucks Ryan in the barn, and poor Kenny gets a meathook in the back because he's the nice guy and nice guys never survive these movies.

No, instead they wander into hidden rooms by themselves, as if to openly invite death.
Following Kenny's death, Heather gets to become acquainted with her cousin too when she finds his cutting fingers off of the hitchhiker douche's hand in the kitchen sink, which leads to her getting knocked out and dragged to the cellar where she gets to enjoy the view of a still breathing Kenny being chainsawed in half. Don't worry though, it's only CGI, like almost everything else in this movie that involves blood or death or chainsaws. Silly, terrible, flying directly in your face CGI. Why? Well, other than the fact that this is a modern shit horror film and practical effects get the shaft in those, it's also a 3D film and we've long left behind the beautiful hilarity of actual objects being used for shots.

Which sadly means there are no shots of Leatherface drifting slowly towards the left of us.
Heather books it, hides in the open grave of her dead grandma that Leatherface dug up, and screams when he tries to chainsaw her out of there. This gets Ryan and Nikki's attention long enough to stop fucking, so they go see what's up and end up being chased as well. While the people she should abandon hide in the barn, Heather gets the van and saves them, but the group's overall stupidity results in the van crashing outside of the property. Ryan dies, Nikki gets hurt, and Heather runs off to the local carnival where we see Leatherface chase her and make himself known in a very public manner. Now, let's stop here for a moment and talk about why this is dumb. Jed is clearly a very closed off person, to the point that he wears masks constantly and never speaks. He avoids being seen by large groups of people and consistently only leaves his home when it's asked of him by a family member. I would go as far as to say the guy likely has social anxiety, much like I do. And now he's just ran into an area full of people. But this moment of stupid is nothing compared to the single greatest awful 3D CGI effect in this entire film.

It's so delightfully dumb!
From that slice of unintentional hilarity, Heather gets whisked off to the police station where she gets to learn the grim details of what happened to her family while a dipshit redneck cop (who was in that mob) gets ordered to go take down Leatherface by himself by the mayor. Not surprisingly, this goes bad as he ends up shooting Nikki in the head and then gets killed himself. Leatherface cuts off his face, as that's a thing he does, and he dons a mask in preparation for his big night as he goes out looking for the girl of his dreams.

Who just happens to be his inexplicably young cousin who was born in the 1970s.
Heather, meanwhile, calls Farnsworth, the lawyer, and tells him what has transpired. He lays it all out for her and even mentions again that if she'd read the letter, she'd have known this all already. Here's a short recap: our main character is an idiot who got her friends killed because she didn't read a clearly important letter, her cannibalistic cousin is out looking to kill her because he wasn't told she existed, and the rednecks who murdered an entire family all hold positions of power in this town. Wonderful. Said rednecks find her and beat up her lawyer while she escapes with attractive hero cop. But no, actually he's not that at all, as it seems he's the son of King Redneck, Mayor Burt. The plan is simple: the rednecks use her to lure Leatherface to the abandoned slaughterhouse, they kill him, and then they probably rape and kill her. Seriously, one of these guys clearly has sex with her on the mind and I don't think he cares if she's alive during. Leatherface hears on the police radio he just has for some reason and heads there where he gets to show her his big tool.

Judging by her reaction, I think that might be a bit too big for her. Better get some lube.
But she's saved by a contrived plot device that somehow doesn't get overlooked despite how small it is. You see, the Sawyers all have these S pendants and the one her mother wore was heated up due to the fire she escaped from. This heated up necklace burned baby Heather and resulted in her having a scar there that actually should've grown with her and looked way different that it does. Luckily for her, it didn't and Leatherface seems to figure out it means something. He rips off her tape, she says she's his cousin, he cuts her loose, and the rednecks show up to start beating him to death. She starts to run, but decides that the guy who murdered all of her friends earlier needs help, so she goes to save him and the two of them kill the rednecks while the sheriff lets them get away with it because he was a shitty cop anyway. The two cousins return to their home where she finally reads the letter she was supposed to read earlier. The movie ends with post-credits scene of her adopted parents showing up as we hear a chainsaw revving up, implying that they're about die. And that's all she wrote.

Leatherface is done and so am I.
This movie could have been very good, as the idea of there being a lost Sawyer who is introduced into the dark history of the family is really interesting. A much better idea would have been to have her gradually uncovering the things from the earlier films, building towards her learning about how the locals murdered the more innocent members of the family in cold blood for what the more murderous Sawyers got up to. And one of those innocents could have been her young mother. From there it would become a tale of revenge as she hunts down these pieces of shit, avenging the dead while wearing the mask of her dead cousin. That's a movie I could've gotten behind completely and it wouldn't have required the least bit of ignoring what came before. Instead, we got CGI bullshit and a timeline that would give Doc Brown an ulcer.

"No, really, I was born in 1974!"
I hate a lot about this movie, from the plot itself to the chronology, it's just a massive trainwreck full of animals leavings and old refuse. This movie is a perfect example of how not to revitalize a series, as it is neither a well done reboot nor is it a entertaining sequel. The only redeeming quality to watching this movie is that it lends itself to being mocked so easily that it's a perfect shitty movie to enjoy with friends as you eat junk food and pretend you're stuck on space station where you're watching bad movies with some robots. If you want to see a decent further entry in this series, go check the two sequels this movie tries so desperately to erase. Save this one for drunken antics with friends. So, until someone who knows what they're doing finally brings this series back to life, I'll be here praying to the ghost of Dennis Hopper for salvation from bad sequels to classic films. Later days, bleeders.

And will someone please make Marlon Wayans stop violating the corpse of what was once known as the parody? Thanks.



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