Texas Chainsaw 3D sees the tables turned for iconic horror villain Leatherface in a clever take on the story that picks up straight after the original film with the police gunning down the Sawyer family at their farmhouse.
While fans of the original films have expressed their dismay at the 2013 adaptions’ attempt to rebrand Leatherface as an anti hero, this review comes from someone who didn’t like the original films at all. The rebranding could actually be seen as a welcome change to the story, which presented us with a rather uninteresting and slightly bumbling villain back in the 70’s. I will never forget the scene where Leatherface dances around in the middle of the road in anguish before accidentally cutting his own leg with the chainsaw he’d been wielding. Something about Leatherface for me made the film difficult to take seriously in the first place so this take on the character actually adds a little more depth and interest.
The 2013 film is no different to any other slasher film in terms of characters or story. We have the typical stock characters including the standard scantily clad young women and creepy townsfolk, so as far as genre goes Texas Chainsaw 3D brings nothing new to the table. However, in a storyline almost taken word-for-word from Halloween, we learn that not all of the Sawyer family was killed in the shoot out back in the 70’s and a baby named Edith was found alive and taken by one of the townsmen who’s wife cannot have children. So what happens next? You guessed it! Edith, who has since been living her life as Heather, inherits the old farmhouse from her grandmother, who had never forgotten her, and in turn inherits her somewhat uncouth cousin Leatherface. Of course, things aren’t as simple as that and it takes until the end of the film before the penny finally drops and Leatherface stops trying to make milkshake out of her insides with his chainsaw and starts looking after his long lost relative.
Whether it’s realistic that someone who’d lived their whole life not even knowing they were adopted would suddenly team up with their psychopath cousin in all his skin-masked glory right after narrowly avoiding being torn in half by his weapon of choice is questionable, but we definitely see the tables turned and representations are tinkered with so that we’re suddenly rooting for the villain. The police that killed the family suddenly become the ones we despise, and we find ourselves actually empathising with the strange, large man in the skin mask who lost his entire family in a police shoot-out.
The film does a lot of things well, but loses the charm of the original franchise. Even someone who didn’t like the original films can see that it’s lacking that spark that made the original a classic. However, aesthetically it’s brilliant, even down to the look alike’s used to play the family at the beginning; it all looks like it carries straight on from the original despite it being filmed four decades later. Some style is sacrificed in the name of 3D and you can tell which bits were designed to ‘pop out’, and on a non-3D DVD it does ruin the film just a little. 3D blood never looks realistic when watched in 2D and unfortunately there’s at least one scene that’s almost laugh out loud bad due to obvious intent for 3D.
Texas Chainsaw 3D brings nothing new to the slasher genre and even the anti-hero story has been attempted before in Halloween. Heather‘s story is very similar to that of Laurie Strode and it’s almost an amalgamation of the two. While I personally liked the change of representation and felt it actually made the film more enjoyable, some people have expressed their dislike for the new Leatherface. I definitely wouldn’t have paid cinema prices to see this film, but now it’s out on DVD it’s definitely worth a watch.