“Texas Chainsaw 3D” begins with a cameo from Gunnar Hansen, the man who portrayed Leatherface during the villain’s first stint on the silver screen. I find this weird. Why would you seemingly give fans a jovial titbit like that, before proceeding to insult them for 92 painfully inept minutes? It’s bizarre. Like bating a puppy with a sausage before drowning it in a bathtub.The horror genre has taken an immeasurable beating over the last ten years, and I don’t just refer to the uneven quality of original product. No, alas, much of this infection can be attributed to Hollywood’s newfound fascination with reheating hits of the past, digging up the corpses of once legendary frighteners and reducing them to mounds of unimaginative drivel. Leatherface - the iconic star of Tobe Hooper’s low-fi 1974 chiller “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” - has already endured his fair share of unwanted rebirths. Suffering through several sequels and a competent but unwarranted 2003 remake has soured the monster’s potency, long drained of the mysterious nastiness that made those initial chainsaw whirs so alarmingly macabre. With “Texas Chainsaw 3D” Hollywood continues to dishonour the franchise; belching out an illogical pseudo-sequel unworthy of the original’s name. It’s a horrible affair and a burning condemnation of mainstream cinema’s worst habits. That it topped the box-office back in January - a time when so much quality Awards fare was in prime circulation - is appalling.
Discovering that her crass adoptive parents have kept her true lineage a secret since birth, Heather (Alexandra Daddario) decides to return to her true home of Texas to collect an inheritance left in her recently deceased mother’s will. On arrival (with a predictable posse of foul buddies in tow), Heather is alarmed to find an incredible abode, but one laced with a dark and tragic past. It doesn’t take long for said legacy to rear its head, as her troubled cousin Leatherface (Dan Yeager) escapes from his basement domain, anxious to carve up some teen flesh and make the locals pay for their cruel treatment of his clan.
There’s so much wrong with “Texas Chainsaw 3D” that it’s positively alarming. The screenplay is riddled with inconsistencies (mostly to do with the aging of characters) and boasts no discernible desire to rise above the level of joyless claptrap, quickly devolving into poorly hobbled together stalk and slash formula. Director John Luessenhop is unable to imbue the feature with any significant style or visual imprint (usually a minute saving grace with these things) and his grasp of tension leaves much to be desired. There’s plenty of grisly bloodshed to behold (although even that is comprised of wretched CG gore) but “Texas Chainsaw 3D” just can’t get the creepiness in gear, instead rallying to the predictable call of the “jump scare”; the most beloved weapon in the hack film-maker’s arsenal. It’s not good enough to unleash a maniac and expect audiences to cower. A sense of dread must be maintained or an attempt to manipulate primal fears attempted. Otherwise you’re just cooking up the sort of bamboozlingly dire pap that 11-year old girls giggle at during sleepovers.The third act works a distasteful and cruddy twist into proceedings, as poorly formed supporting characters float in and out of the picture purely for the writer’s lazy convenience. An abundance of terrible dialogue makes up the majority of the character development, with a selection of young and despairingly talentless Abercrombie stiffs on hand to brave the killer’s tiresome advances. “Texas Chainsaw 3D” is a heartless desecration of an icon and an affront to those who take scary movies seriously.