A Dull Buzz: “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (2003) Review

After buying this on Blu-ray this Friday and watching it over the weekend I was reminded (or reconfirmed) how much I hate this movie, and even more baffling, how many praise and even claim it’s superior over the original. I admit I got sucked up into the hype of this remake and remember getting super excited when I saw the teaser with the new Leatherface sliding the door shut.

I invited some friends to opening night letting them know that it was going to be GREAT. Lo and behold, they adored it and were even scared by it. Me on the other hand felt a strong feeling of dislike growing in me, clouding my senses with cloying smut.

For starters, the plot is so damn transparent and with the originals blue print to follow completely destroy any sense of momentum.The original had the teens going to the house one by one succumbing to Leatherface and his family of psychos. With the remake it was all over the place, too many characters, not enough plot. How many damn times are the characters going to walk to the house, walk to the van, walk to the house, ARGH!! just cut through that damn field already!

I didn’t feel one ounce of suspense in this remake and the original and I’m ALWAYS highly effected and disturbed by the original no matter how many times I see it. The remake has all the gore you could want but it’s done with zero grace and subtly and is smacked along side your head, as if that will make it any scarier.

I also really despised the characters with their Kevin Williamson reject dialogue. Pepper’s little speech at the beginning remind you of any Scream characters? Or Jessica Biel and all the politically correct bullshit she brought to the table. “Don’t do drugs!!” “Don’t have sex” “Don’t just leave the disturbed girl on the side of the road!” “VOTE! “BRUSH YOUR TEETH! SAVE THE WHALES It’s like shut the hell up already, I don’t care if the camera loves your butt that doesn’t make up for your horrid character. If it wasn’t for her and doing the right thing, everyone would be at the Leonard Skynard concert, smoking up, having sex. not getting butchered. Doe anyone else get outraged by this? Or how she magically saves the baby and escapes the clutches of Leatherface seemingly without any hysterics ala Marilyn Burns.

The family was not as creepy or interesting as the original family. Although they are very good in the prequel, I actually really like the prequel and it’s mean streak, it’s very UN-politically correct and I love it for that, Leatherface is so bad ass in the prequel, I think that one is underrated.

It’s a sad time for Tobe Hooper when many on IMDB and wherever claim this is superior and more intense and more relevant, etc. All I like about this remake is the brilliant polished look it helms, by music video guru Marcus Nispel, but I don’t want Texas Music Video Massacre, it just feels cheap.

–Vince Fontaine