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Texas Chainsaw 3D - Blu-ray Review

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Texas Chainsaw 3D - Movie Review

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3 Stars

While it certainly isn’t high art and, at times, as awful as you expect it to be from the wrong-headed trailers, Texas Chainsaw 3D – being billed as the direct sequel to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 original (and the only in a long line of sequels to claim as such) – isn’t, much to my surprise, half bad.  Of course, naysayers will not be persuaded to give this film a chance so if you’ve already decided its fate please stop reading now.  Nothing I write will change your mind.

Still here?  Good.  You are a true horror fan.  Let me say this first: Texas Chainsaw 3D’s heart is in the right place.  This is almost the best example of really well-written fan fiction and not a deadbeat sequel written by money-grubbing Hollywood hacks.  It proudly beats in honor of the original and painstakingly covers familiar ground – complete with scenes from the original that have been post-converted in 3D in order to match the new film’s sheen – without being too off-putting.  Mind you, I’m not saying it completely works but it is…interesting and certainly opens the mythos up a bit which could guide audiences into new and very fertile storytelling possibilities.

Ignoring all sequels before it, Texas Chainsaw 3D mounts an impressive and frustratingly misguided continuation of the original mythos with a whole new set of tools.  Director John Luessenhop (Takers) opens the film with the Sawyer family under siege by a lynch mob.  Rampaging and frothing at the mouth, the clan brings hellfire itself upon the murderous clan.  A Sawyer baby is discovered in the aftermath of enraged citizens and eventually adopted.  Ladies and gentlemen, meet your new leading lady, Heather (Alexandra Daddario).  Fast forward twenty years later and take a step to the north on a US map.  Heather, now living in Oklahoma, gets notification of her biological grandmother passing and her inheritance.  Yep, you guessed it; a new house…where the rest of her crazy relatives are living/hiding out.

You know what’s going to happen when she assembles her Oklahoma posse - boyfriend (Tremaine Neverson) and her pals (Tania Raymonde and Keram Malicki-Sánchez) - and heads to Texas for a rendezvous with Leatherface.  Massacre.  Blood.  Guts.  All in 3D.  And yet, almost matching Hooper’s tone and questioning ambiguities about meat and fear and humanity, Texas Chainsaw posits a whole new set of questions for its audience and brings together original Texas Chainsaw Massacre cast members Bill Moseley (from the second film), Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns for another twisted tale of carnage.

Recall that – according to screenwriters Debra Sullivan and Adam Marcus - the Sawyer clan was eventually taken out by a lynch mob.  Well, the lynch mob runs the town now – even the town’s businesses – and, rewarded for their murderous actions, have grown to become every bit as cruel as the Sawyer clan and, when faced with new people to save, show no mercy and no remorse for their animalistic actions.  Are their vagrant abuses any better than the Sawyer clan?  This is all interesting enough territory for a slasher film and, to me, suggests that cheap scares and a quick buck aren’t the main attractions here.  There are enough weighty questions about ethics and morality thrown in the muck and mire to make it worthy of a revisit.

While bloody and void of intelligence for stretches of time, Texas Chainsaw 3D isn’t just about the blood and guts.  Exactly what makes a monster?  And why are we so fascinated by them?  These are only some of the lingering questions the film has left me with and I love that I am actually surprised by its…honorable intentions.  So maybe the execution could have been sharper but a lame Platinum Dunes production this is not.  Lionsgate knows expectations are low, low, low for ANY horror film sequel released at the beginning of the year and maybe that’s a plus for any marketed entertainment that features power tools being used in such a manner that voids all warranties.

The Sawyer family has returned for the betterment of gore hounds and horror aficionados willing to give this movie a chance.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Texas Chainsaw 3D - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for strong grisly violence and language throughout.
Runtime:
92 mins.
Director
: John Luessenhop
Writer: Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan
Cast: Alexandra Daddario; Dan Yeager; Trey Songz; Scott Eastwood; Tania Raymonde; Shaun Sipos
Genre: Horror
Tagline:
Evil has many faces.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Looks like Granny liked to play a little pool."
Distributor:
Lionsgate
Official Site:
www.texaschainsaw3d.com
Release Date: January 4, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 14, 2013

Synopsis: Lionsgate's Texas Chainsaw 3D continues the legendary story of the homicidal Sawyer family, picking up where Tobe Hooper’s 1974 horror classic left off in Newt, Texas, where for decades people went missing without a trace. The townspeople long suspected the Sawyer family, owners of a local barbeque pit, were somehow responsible. Their suspicions were finally confirmed one hot summer day when a young woman escaped the Sawyer house following the brutal murders of her four friends. Word around the small town quickly spread, and a vigilante mob of enraged locals surrounded the Sawyer stronghold, burning it to the ground and killing every last member of the family – or so they thought.

Decades later and hundreds of miles away from the original massacre, a young woman named Heather learns that she has inherited a Texas estate from a grandmother she never knew she had. After embarking on a road trip with friends to uncover her roots, she finds she is the sole owner of a lavish, isolated Victorian mansion. But her newfound wealth comes at a price as she stumbles upon a horror that awaits her in the mansion’s dank cellars...

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Texas Chainsaw 3D - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
3 stars

4 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - May 14, 2013
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; English: Dolby Digital 2.0; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); UV digital copy; iTunes digital copy; Blu-ray 3D
Region Encoding: A

The film is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate Films with both MVC (3D) and AVC (2D) encoded 1080p transfers in 2.40:1. As forgiving of the movie as I am, it is no lie to acknowledge that the technical presentation is better than the movie is. There's lots of fine details, strong colors, deep blacks. However, there are some scenes where it is a tad too dark and fine details are swallowed up by the shadows. There are some instances of aliasing and haloing, but they are mostly minor. The audio – presented here in a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix –  is even better than the video with good use of the surround sound speakers and an active bass, when called for.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Here’s why you should purchase this – especially if you are horror hound – there are three blazing commentaries from various members of the original canon.  In the first commentary, director John Luessenhop and Actor Dan Yeager talk about the movie.  In the second commentary, Producer Carl Mazzocone and Filmmaker Tobe Hooper take turns discussing the genre and Massacre series.  The third commentary features the "Chainsaw Alumni" and features stars Bill Moseley, Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns and John Dugan discussing the legacy of the series.

Special Features:

There are a lot of extras on the DVD and the Blu-ray, including three audio commentaries. There are a ton of making of / behind-the-scenes featurettes that discuss various aspects of the film, from its legacy, to the 3D effects. If you loved the movie, then there's plenty to check out.

Texas Chainsaw Legacy (1080p; 6:46) features Tobe Hooper talking about the original film as well as producer Carl Mazzocone talking about this reboot. Several stars from both versions talk about what the original meant and/or how it affected them.

  • Resurrecting the Saw (9 min)
  • The Old Homestead (15 min)
  • Casting Terror (12 min)
  • Leatherface 2013 (15 min)
  • Lights, Camera, Massacre (12 min)
  • It's In the Meat (8 min)
  • On Set Short Subjects: Five Minute Massacres (33 min)
  • Alternate Opening (3 min)
  • Theatrical Trailer

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