Surprisingly Good Remake: “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (2003)

I know I’m gonna get the shit kicked out of me for this, but let me explain a bit. I enjoyed the original film, while I think its a bit overrated(it was never scary or shocking to me, even in the 80’s), it did still leave you with a dirty feeling, a feeling like you just watched a snuff tape and did nothing.

I enjoyed the remake because it does what a remake is meant to do, it take the core of the story and updates it nicely. It still shows the proper respect to what has been done ans gives stuff for the new generation to enjoy. Jessica Biel isn’t a bad actress, while she may not have been the best choice for the role, I can see why she picked it, its so far from her goody good role on 7th Heaven(which co-starred Child’s Play actress Catherine Hicks)and she wasn’t terrible,it just felt like it was written for someone else.

Andrew Bryniarski is one of the reasons why I enjoyed this film as much as I have enjoyed it. He played Leatherface very well, strong and threatening, even more than the Gunner Hansen version, while Gunner seemed to be more like a tool the Sawyers were using, this Leatherface is doing it all on his own, very little pushing is being done to send him over the edge. I was surprised to see he played Lobo in the short based on the DC Comics character and Zangief in the not so bad, bad Streetfighter film “QUICK CHANGE THE CHANNEL”

R. Lee Eemy is another fun reason to watch this film and the next film, I am not a fan of Full Metal Jacket, too me after the boot camp scene the film kind of get slow and at times boring, but that first 45 minutes when we see Ermy berating the cadet(who was recently in Law & Order: Criminal Intent)made that film enjoyable. For this film he once again does that, you can really see him as the man in charge of the in house stuff.

Another aspect of the film is the cinematography, just like the original film we are made to feel dirty and uncomfortable, every time I watch this I gotta take a shower or wash my hands. Daniel Pearl should be given a great deal of respect for the style used in this film as it is a staple of what we see in the later Platinum Dunes remakes. The one scene I’d say really grabbed my attention and kept me wanting more was the hitchhiker scene, as its very different from the original film, for one we don’t have one of the Sawyers marking the next target and secondly we see a setup for a whole other story(which has yet to be told).

I also loved how the end of the scene occur(come on, love or hate the film you know you cringed) The tension in the film is high always and f you have seen the deleted scenes section, you can see the writers did try to give the characters a personality, they didn’t just want a group of meat walking around(which honestly my generation of films went overboard with). We have to remember what makes classics like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Child’s Play and even Hellraiser so great is the writers made sure we get just enough character story to care for the victims and would be victims, nowadays that’s a lost trait in the writing, all we get now is a lot of people, a lot of death scenes and no story.

—Eric Curto


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