Projections - Movie Reviews

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

A desaturated re-imagining of a visceral nightmare appears in a millennium awakening of Tobe Hooper's indelible, disturbing 1974 film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

For producer Michael Bay and music video director Marcus Nispel it doesn't matter if this was necessary.  But there was a need to give this horror show more of a splattering effect in this story taking place on August 20, 1973 in Travis County, Texas.

There are five partying teens on a summer trip from Mexico back to a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert who pick up an aimless drifter (Lauren German) who apparently has good reason for her paranoia.  When the group's van is "going the wrong way" she commits a grisly suicide and a local sheriff (Lee Ermey) named Hoyt is contacted for identification and closure purposes.

The memorable figure in this tale, inspired by a true story surrounding a head-skinner at a slaughterhouse, is Leatherface who dwells in a dilapidate, cryptic residence at the edge of an eerie cornfield.  Of course this superhuman, however impaired, is very good with his gas-powered twin-cycle weapon of choice; his madness and torture providing all sorts of gruesome images.

There's no denying the apprehension coming from the creeps complements of Nispel's gritty approach which apes movies like Seven and Deliverance and film makers like George Romero.  It's like a backwoods version of X-Men with mutants looking like sickening redneck freakazoids.

This new Massacre shuns the socio-political aura around this notorious mass murder case that many felt was botched and sensationalized.  Certain moments recaptured from the original are underscored, but lose their frightening quality upon repetition.  Still, a sense of fear is felt among the most young cast, especially a strong-willed, Jessica Biel as Erin, the supposed leader of the group.  And Ermey offers up a fearsome law enforcer with some dark amusement in a trail of terror and blood that will scare but won't elicit as many nightmares like a generation or so ago.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

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