Texas Chainsaw 3D | Movie review
It’s back to the killing floor for another scare-free sequel.
When making a sequel to a beloved genre classic, it’s generally unwise to include clips of the masterpiece you’re attempting to live up to. That’s the first misstep of many in Texas Chainsaw 3D, which begins with a stereoscopic recap composed of footage from Tobe Hooper’s 1974 original. Positioning itself as a direct follow-up to that screaming-mad milestone, John Luessenhop’s new installment disregards the events of every Leatherface vehicle since. In spirit, however, it has more in common with those gory, scare-free retreads than the low-budget shocker that inspired them.
Taking a page from Halloween II, the film adds a familial wrinkle to the usual backwoods carnage: Raven-haired Heather (Alexandra Daddario) is an estranged cousin of the franchise’s power-tool-wielding antagonist. Adopted as a baby by one of the locals who gunned down her murderous family, the girl sets out for the Lone Star State, expendable posse of slasher-movie archetypes in tow. (The group is one stock character short of the Cabin in the Woods quintet.)
Luessenhop stages the inevitable mayhem with workmanlike competence—a claustrophobic coffin scene puts the 3-D to good use—but what can he do with a script that abandons the first film’s primal, low-concept insanity in favor of a dopey Hatfield/McCoy angle? In the movie’s severely confused moral universe, a skin-wearing, cannibalistic serial killer is no worse than the dirty politician who denies him due process. As false equivalencies go, that one’s about as persuasive as putting Texas Chainsaw 3D on the same level as its ancestor.