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Movie Review: Texas Chainsaw 3D

By Scott Tibbs, January 24, 2013

Note: There are spoilers in this review.

The formula for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies is fairly simple. A bunch of teenagers or twentysomethings are driving through Texas, stop at an old farmhouse and get killed by Leatherface and his crazy family. You have to work at it to mess that up. Lionsgate worked at it and successfully messed it up.

The story starts off well enough. Leatherface has killed a bunch of people and the local sheriff shows up to arrest him. A bunch of people in town (call them the Redneck Brigade) show up with guns with intention of lynching Leatherface and "helping" Sheriff Hooper.

Things quickly escalate out of control when one of the rednecks hurls a Molotov cocktail into the house. After a firefight, the house burns to the ground. There are two survivors: Leatherface (who everyone assumes is dead) and a baby girl who is raised by one of the couples from the town, who move to another state.

Flash forward 20 years. The baby girl (Heather) is all grown up, and she and her friends are driving through Texas to claim the mansion she has inherited from her recently deceased grandmother. The problem: Leatherface is living in the basement, having been cared for by the crazy old bat for the last two decades. He brutally murders Heather's three friends and a hitchiker they picked up along the way, and tries to kill her.

Heather barely escapes, and while she is in the police station she finds out about the massacre of her family when she was a baby. This causes her to turn heel. She joins forces with Leatherface to get revenge on the people who killed her family when she was a baby and then goes back to the mansion with Leatherface to care for him.

At no time does Heather show any anger or bitterness over the fact that her cousin Leatherface butchered two of her friends and her boyfriend. That heel turn makes absolutely no sense.

Lionsgate could have foreshadowed the heel turn by inserting flashbacks of Heather's childhood where she displayed aggressive, violent and psychotic behavior (with the explanation that mental illness runs in the family) but there was nothing in this movie that would make any normal person join forces with a deranged serial killer who has just butchered her friends!

It gets worse. Sheriff Hooper, the very same sheriff who tried to arrest Leatherface after he slaughtered several other people some 20 years earlier, witnesses Leatherface and Heather murder two members of the Redneck Brigade who murdered Leatherface's family.

Hooper knows Leatherface's history of murdering innocent people and the danger he presents to the community and anyone visiting the town. He simply allows Heather and Leatherface to go back to their mansion, making absolutely no attempt to stop them or apprehend Leatherface. No normal person would behave this way, especially a law enforcement officer.

I understand that Lionsgate wanted to end the movie in such a way that a sequel is possible in a year or two. There are many ways to do this other than the stupid and nonsensical way that this movie ended.

Once again, the 3-D effect is absolutely terrible. I have yet to see a 3-D movie that actually looks good in 3-D. Perhaps one third of the movie was in 3-D as it is, and the 3-D effect literally looks like transparencies on top of each other. It looks really fake, and winds up looking much worse than it would if it was simply in 2-D. Charging an extra $3 for that was a ripoff.

Final Grade: F