“Chainsaw don’t make you bulletproof.” Chainsaw don’t make you bulletproof. It’s still hilarious. When I heard this lovely dialogue gem during my viewing of Texas Chainsaw, I burst out laughing and it took several minutes to recover. Now, after my time in Texas, this is the only thing I take away from this movie. Texas Chainsaw, released in 2013, is yet another remake of the famed franchise featuring Leatherface and his psychotic family of cannibals and serial killers. Originally, Keith was supposed to take this entire franchise because it’s one of his favorites, but I was craving a good chainsaw death and took it. Let me tell you, I’m glad I did so I could spare him the agony of sitting through this film and tarnishing his love for it.
For those who don’t know, Leatherface is a chainsaw-wielding serial killer from a beyond backward town in Texas. In fact, his entire family consists of psychopaths and murderers, just without the signature chainsaw. The family is inbred and cannibalistic - a lovely combination. In this re-imagining of the franchise, the creators took everything amazing about the original and left it out or changed it. The original film is terrifying and Leatherface is not a villain to be messed with. He is more frightening and realistic than Jason, Freddy and Michael. In this film, however, an attempt is made to make Leatherface an anti-hero. Now, I love a good anti-hero as much as the next girl, but Leatherface is not one. Nor could he ever be. This film’s portrayal of him as an under-developed, neglected man with the mind of an eight-year-old made me frustrated and irritated. Sure, the family featured in these films is never made out to be a bunch of geniuses, but you also never feel sorry for them. They are racist and offensive and murderers. Even at the beginning of this film, the audience watches as the entire family tortures and kills a group of teens. They are evil, pure evil, and so is he. No amount of spin can change that. And furthermore, it shouldn’t be changed. People watch this franchise to see a good, old-fashioned slasher with a ton of gore. They don’t tune in for a lesson on mistreating the mentally challenged.
Aside from a brief sequence at the beginning of the film, the rest of the movie is a wash. There aren’t any exciting deaths and Leatherface’s time with the chainsaw seems too brief. There is no horrible sheriff in this film, and while there are some replacements, none compare. This film has a small cast of teens for Leatherface to enjoy, just like the other films, but it’s not enough. Leatherface is better than this film. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre concept is a built-in success and I strongly feel that someone would have to work really hard to screw it up. Mission accomplished.
When I started to write this review, I realized this film is called Texas Chainsaw. Just those two words, leaving out massacre. Call me crazy, but I think if you feel you can remove “massacre” from the title then you’ve done something wrong. Texas Chainsaw takes a successful franchise and turns it soft and certainly not scary. As I learned, a chainsaw don’t make you bulletproof. And apparently it don’t make your movie worth shit, either.
If you liked Texas Chainsaw, you might also like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Cannibal Holocaust.