View Full Version : The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

04-21-2004, 02:19 AM

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) *** After wanting to see the remake of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE for a while, I was disappointed, at least in some aspects of the film. Before we get to that, though, I liked the little nods to the original (although there are fewer than in, say, the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake), such as the famous music cues in the beginning of the film and John Larroquette reprising his narration from the original. However, the scares in this remake arenít nearly as relentless as they were before. The chase sequence was shortened quite a bit, and the remake doesnít have the overall graininess that the first film had to give it that raw edge it needed to be successful. I also thought that the ďrealĒ footage at the beginning of this film was quite lame and didnít work at all, with itís obviously fake scratch marks and grain. It gave the film a cheap feel, in my opinion, and it would have been better without it. I just didnít like how they tried to trick the audience into believing it was a true story- sure, the original did this, but it wasnít marketed as much as the newer version. It almost seemed like if they hadnít said it was a true story, it wouldnít have been as successful at the box office.

There are times where this feels like a cheap, watered-down version of the Tobe Hooper classic. Thereís more gore than there was before, but that doesnít really make it a better movie. The original didnít need to resort to graphic violence to achieve its scares- all it needed was a heavy atmosphere and an emphasis on intensity. There are plenty of powerful sequences in the remake, but they arenít carried out as creatively, such as the aforementioned chase scenes and hook sequences (which were really overdone here). There were some nice plot twists (which I wonít reveal here as to not spoil the movie for others who still havenít seen it), but just not enough originality for my tastes. Weíve all seen this before in other films (which in turn might have ripped-off other films), and done more entertainingly as well. I also didnít like the fact that they had to resort to showing Leatherface with his mask off and even revealing his real name. Once again, it cheapens the result and makes it even less daunting; part of the reason why the original was so creepy was because we hardly knew anything about him and he was somewhat of a mystery. Whoís afraid of someone named Thomas Hewitt?

The direction is nice and director Marcus Nispel makes good use of locations to create a moody and unsettling ambiance. For instance, the moment where the hitchhiker shoots herself is done brilliantly, as one particular shot is from the point of view of the gun wound. Again, itís a very gory moment and one wonders how this ever got past the MPAA. Also, check out the scenes near the beginning while the kids are driving along in the van- all of that is skillfully photographed, in my opinion. Despite the fact that there is a lack of innovation permeating this thing, there are quite a few tense sequences as well, such as when Erin is trapped inside the meat factory with Leatherface. The character of Erin is much stronger than the Sally character from the original, because she doesnít hesitate to defend herself most of the time, but we donít really care for her quite as much because of that. But I would go so far as to say that Jessica Biel is comparable to Marilyn Burns. The rest of the cast is so-so, but mostly forgettable because the characters arenít really developed. The same could be said about the originalís cast, too. However, R. Lee Ermy is a standout because of his delirious role as Sheriff Hoyt, who just happens to be part of the killer ďfamilyĒ.

If you have even the slightest interest in this, Iíd say check it out. Audiences were pretty divided with this film; some liked it and some didnít. I enjoyed it, but itís still not quite as good as the original. Then again, some think itís superior to the original. The only thing I can think of about this film that I liked better was that the beginning wasnít boring like it was in the original. At least the writer tried to make it exciting by having something actually happen. Other than that though, I feel that the original film is superior to this film in almost every way.

04-25-2004, 01:32 PM
Pretty good review. I do tend to disagree on a few points, though. I enjoyed the original, but am not quite as fanatic as a lot of people over it, and so tend to enjoy the remake more. Maybe it's being spoiled by all the ultra violence that has been released since I was a teenager, but the original seems to lack the edge that would make it truly terrifying for someone watching it how-many-years? after its release (the fact that it even competes these days, though, is testament to it's power). However, the remake has that edge, even if it doesn't necessarily have the freshness or shockingness the first one had on it's release.

That's what I love about this film, it's edge. Unlike most horror films released these days, this movie is MEAN. It's like a pit bull that doesn't know when to let go. This is one of those rare films where you really don't know if the hero(ine) will make it through to the end, just because of the ruthlessness of it all. That's what really appealed to me, and this is one of those few films where, even though I think it is a solid piece of filmmaking and is definitely worth seeing, I almost don't want to watch it too often, because it IS that relentless. Better than the original? Hell, I'll concede that a lot of people don't think it is, and they may be right. But for me, it is one grueling, ugly ride, and these days we don't get that too often.

Plenty of people would disagree with me, but I say it's worth a rental at the very least; I personally paid $30 for the 2-disc special edition and don't regret it at all.

05-11-2004, 08:19 PM
I didnt expect to enjoy it more than the original but I actually did get excited before watching it from others reviews. Saw it last week - finally - and unforuntely I was dissapointed. They rushed things too much, not any tension build up really when they could have played on it a lot more, they showed LEatherface in the limelight right away - even without mask - had too many killer characters (sometimes keeping it simple is more effective). And what was with the whole explanation of Leatherface being picked on as a kid becaue of a skin disease? *groans*

They changed too much about the film for me to consider it a remake. There really weren't any similiarities at all. The acting was good though, and the violent scenes were brutal (especially the leg -- youch!!)

05-11-2004, 09:59 PM
I am not a big fan of the original but I do respect it as a staple in the horror genre. I didn't expect much from the remake, nor did I anticipate it at all. I gave it a random rental a few weeks ago and WOW was I in for a treat. The DTS track is very nice which helped the movie a lot. All in all it was a fun ride, and I found it a lot more enjoyable than the original.

John Gargo
05-12-2004, 01:32 AM
The original is one of the films of the decade, influenced almost everything that came after it, and has what has to be the greatest chase scene in horror movie history... So yeah, this remake was perhaps pointless... How do you improve on perfection?

That being said, there are a few things this remake DID do right... it deviates substantially from the source material, it's got superb visuals, and it has R. Lee Ermy giving a hilariously demented performance as the sheriff.

Unfortunately, it also makes a few mistakes...

Showing you leatherface without his mask on, trying to explain his character (one of the things that was scary about the original was how ill-defined Leatherface's character was), and the inclusion of the baby (which struck me as hokey and cheesy for such an otherwise downbeat flick)...

It's pretty good, though... 3/5

05-12-2004, 06:51 PM
Something else which I hate about the remake is that it is set in August 1973, yet they are playing Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" on the radio. This tune was from the band's Second Helping LP which came out in 1974. Several on imdb have pointed this out.