#341 -- Texas Chainsaw (2013)

Director: John Luessenhop
Rating: 4 / 5

I want to start off by saying that I'm not a TCM uber fan. It's not because I don't like it; it's just because I haven't seen all the movies. I've seen the original, and the 2003 remake. I loved how the original was filmed, and how Tobe Hooper directed it; I thought the remake was okay. So I haven't been all that exposed to the movies or Leatherface. Even if I had seen all those, I'm hardly a purist when it comes to these things (I loved the F13 remake), so I'm sure I'd still like this movie. It's not technically a remake, since it takes place after the events of the first movie; but I'm sure there are some old school fans out there who have a problem here.

So, right after Sally escaped from the Sawyer clan, the police showed up, along with a group of angry townspeople. Those townspeople burned the house to the ground, presumably killing everyone inside. There were two survivors: Leatherface, and a little baby girl. Two of the townspeople took the baby and raised her as their own daughter, named her Heather, and she grew up without having the slightest idea of who she really was. That was, until she got a letter saying that her grandmother had passed away -- a grandmother she didn't even know existed. This grandmother had left her house to Heather, and she and her friends took a little road trip to see the place. Along the way, they picked up a cute hitch-hiker (after hitting him with their van; and he actually paid them to give him a ride.) who would prove to be not quite as friendly as they'd thought. When they left to get something to cook for dinner (which he paid for), he decided to steal everything valuable in the house. That led him to the basement, through the wine cellar, and down to the dungeon where Leatherface lived. He was killed, and the maniac was set loose once again.

The main thing people have a problem with is the time line. Heather was born in 1974, right after all those events took place. She couldn't have been older than twenty-five, so realistically speaking, the movie couldn't have taken place any later than '97 or so. But everything was extremely modern. Since the movie did seem to take place in 2012, she would have to be somewhere in her thirties. People have a problem with this, but I don't. I could tell myself that, maybe these fancy cell-phones and things could have been around back in '97 (after all, I was only seven years old then; I don't have a clue what cell phones looked like then), but that's not really necessary. I do believe that Heather could have been in her thirties. The actress who played her is twenty-six, so it's not too far off. Besides, people do tend to look younger than they actually are. I'm twenty-three, people tell me I look fifteen. It happens, people! Besides, this is a horror movie; often times, while watching horror movies, you have to force yourself to believe things that you otherwise wouldn't. It's normal. I really don't understand why there's such a big issue here. Well, scratch that. It's a modern day sequel to a classic movie that everyone loves. People are bound to look for things to bitch about, and I guess they couldn't find anything else.

My point is, I really don't give a shit about the time line being unrealistic. The biggest issue I ever have with a horror movie is that it's boring. If it's exciting, has a decent story and good characters, I'm behind it. I don't care how contrived it seems; if it's done well, I'm cool. And I think this one was very well done. The crew behind the movie knew their stuff; they were either big fans of the movies or they did their research. With the film-making, it was pretty true to the original. And they threw some things in there that should have made fans giggle (I know I did...). Like Officer Hooper, and the fact that the lady who played Sally in the original was Heather's grandmother. And Gunnar Hansen, the original Leatherface, was a white-haired member of the Sawyer family here. I thought it was cool. There were other small things about the movie that I liked as well. Like the fact that Heather knew absolutely nothing about her blood relatives, yet she still grew up to be a butcher. It's in their blood.

I don't know how he was portrayed in all the other sequels, but what I know from this and the original (I don't remember anything about that remake in 2003), makes me really love Leatherface. In the original, his family forced him to do the things he was doing. They were rude to him, and I can assume that he suffered childhood abuse. He wasn't "all there," and he didn't know any better. He thought what he was doing was normal, and that all these people were hurting him for nothing. In this one, someone said that he had the mind of an 8-year-old trapped in that big 'ol body. It's really sad if you think about it. He's only doing what he was taught to do, and everyone hates him for it. A few other things I really like about Leatherface: he has his priorities straight (family comes first), and he gives absolutely zero fucks. He will chase a bitch out into town with his chainsaw blaring and not think twice about it. I know he's not the brightest guy, and he probably, literally, doesn't think about it. But I think he's a badass. That was what I liked about him in the original, and they kept that going here. He actually chased Heather to a carnival and sent all the patrons fleeing. Most other killers would lurk in the shadows and wait. Not Leatherface!

But what it really comes down to is the fact that the movie was entertaining. The action was pretty much non-stop, there was a decent amount of gore (which I always love), and that family bond that Heather and Leatherface shared was touching. Seriously, I thought I was going to cry. So the times aren't realistic; I can live with that. So the characters did a few things that don't make sense. Because horror movie characters are always smart about the decisions they make. I can live with that too; we all can, because we have to. It was entertaining, and it stayed true to the only original that I'm familiar with. To me, it's a winner.

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