Review: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The rate at which remakes are coming out is making me increasingly nervous about the lack of good, new ideas in Hollywood. The more disturbing trend it to remake movies that people in their late 40s early 50s would remember sneaking in to long ago. The amount of time before a movie is released is becoming shorter and shorter before it becomes grounds for the remake treatment, and while some rightfully deserve this retouching, others may just be a waste of energy and time. Luckily, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre falls into the previous category as the re-imagined tale of twisted murder is vividly brought to the screen with only a few problems.

One thing that stood out to me, having not seen the original in any form, or it’s sequels, was how much Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses “borrows” from this picture. Even in its remake form the storylines are eerily parallel almost to the point of a true rip-off. While I wasn’t impressed with Corpses, Massacre has a sort of freshness to it that holds it above past movies in the genre, almost as though you need to watch it as Leatherface and the twisted manner of the film has seeped deeply into pop culture.

The story starts off with five teenagers making a trek across Texas to see a concert (with front row tickets non-the-less). When they almost hit a girl walking in the middle of the street it starts them out on a journey through death, despair, and some of the most wretched, vile people this side of the Mississippi. When something terrible happens the group is thrown through hoop after hoop as they try to track down the town Sheriff. Through the passage of time they will meet an “interesting” cast of characters and learn about true fear.

The horror staples pioneered by Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street remain with the kids having sex, taking drugs, and drinking. This is all it takes in a horror movie to seal your fate. Keep track of who does what and you may be able to guess the ending, or not. The film itself establishes the story quite well and the full circle feel gives you a full feeling when its over whereas some movies leave you wanting more in the bad sense (meaning the movie felt incomplete) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre leaves you wanting more in the good sense (meaning the film was good).

There are some problems here and there that detracted from the atmosphere a bit. The biggest drawback is the film isn’t scary in any sense of the word, it is more suspenseful than anything, but even with the cheap jump-shocks you never actually feel any fear while watching. Secondly, the acting isn’t necessarily the high point on any of the films actors and actresses; it seems being able to act isn’t necessarily a prerequisite to actually being cast in a film. Also there are points when the believability of the film skews into the “I don’t freaking think so category,” mainly with a certain character taking on the long-known persona of a hockey masked killer.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a name everyone can ask anyone about and they will give you a vague inference of what it is about. For a movie released almost 30 years ago the story holds up quite well and the main killer shines as one of the greats in a sea of mediocre “monsters” that all have unique staples into killing, but lack the originality and simplicity that once had audiences swooning in their seats. This remake has been tagged by many as a waste of time and an effort to cash in on the license once again, but those who can see past the negative comments, and haven’t seen the original, may find a pleasant Halloween treat, and that isn’t a trick.

Written by Erich Becker
Thirty-something with a love of everything we cover here, and a few things we don't. Erich has run Entertainmentopia since the site's inception in 1999, countless redesigns, a few crashes, and a lot of media later, here you have it!