Also up at Channel 24
What it's about
When Heather Miller goes down with a group of friends to claim the Texan house that a grandmother she never knew bequeathed to her, she soon finds that the house holds some very old and some very deadly secrets.
What we thought
Texas Chainsaw 3D marks, what, the fifth reboot/ remake of this interminable series? Regardless, it's probably ten remakes too many as the series may have dropped the “massacre” from its title, in place of a typically pointless “3D”, but it's also dropped any sense of terror, anarchy and unexpectedness that the original film might have once displayed.
It may not share exactly the same plot as any of its predecessors but Texas Chainsaw 3D is so utterly free of any sense of originality, innovation and vitality that it feels hopelessly tired from the very first frame. It's not exactly a surprise that the latest Texas Chainsaw Massacre cash-in is a very, very bad movie but it's not its lack of quality that is its biggest offence, as much as the very real sense that everybody involved in the film is as bored with the whole thing as most audiences have proven to be (by this point, that 4.8 rating at the IMDB must be the work of the franchise's staunchest fans).
Never mind the barely there performances or the film's utterly generic directorial style, the entire script feels like it was thrown together in a couple of hours while its writers were waiting for something better to come along. There's nothing at all scary about the film, big surprise, but even its frequent CGI blood-letting and general nastiness feel phoned in. This is by-the-numbers, non-committal filmmaking at its most blatantly transparent.
Nothing in the film betrays its “creators'” callousness, though, more than the way its characters are written. Now, of course, the horror genre is filled with one-dimensional characters whose only purpose is to get killed off as gruesomely as possible and both heroes and villains who act entirely contrary to how most human beings would act in any given circumstance, but Texas Chainsaw 3D is just too damn stupid – or, again, bored - to understand that even the dumbest of slasher films have their limits.
It's hard to get into this without spoiling the film's plot but since there is so little to actually spoil, lets just say that Heather, the film's alleged protagonist, goes through a transformation during the film that pushes the genre's well known suspension of disbelief to all new levels of jaw-dropping, “they didn't just do that did they?” incredulity. And that's without getting into why the film spends a sizeable portion of its runtime on a subplot involving an affair between Heather's boyfriend and her best friend that is neither discovered by Heather, nor has any impact on the rest of the film in any way whatsoever. But then, it's not like either of those characters aren't instantly forgotten by Heather and the film itself the minute they... um, do what all supporting characters in horror films are ultimately known to do.
Now, inevitably, I have no doubt that horror fanboys are going to come to the film's undeserved aid, attacking stuffy, pseudo-intellectual critics like yours truly for not getting the film or the whole genre that spawned it but I have to ask, don't horror fans – true horror fans – deserve better than the stale, warmed up left overs of a franchise that is decades past its sell-by date. Isn't it past time for the genre (or at least its American incarnation) to let decades old franchises lie and for new, original, exciting and genuinely scary horror to finally take its place on the top of the heap? Just say no to Texas Chainsaw 3D.