In 2003, Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes released a “reboot” of the 70s classic horror movie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
The movie was co-produced by Tobe Hooper, the director of the original movie. It was directed by Marcus Nispel and starred Jessica Biel, Eric Balfour and Erica Leerhsen.
I’ve heard mostly good things about this reboot. However Rotten Tomatoes gives it less than 40%. I re-watched it recently for this review and I still say I enjoy it. I thought the set design and the tone of the film were perfect. Everything seemed grungy and dirty. The Chainsaw family were fairly creepy and scary. The house they lived in was horrifying. I just loved the “look and feel” of this movie.
As for the cast, they were okay. Easily the standouts were Jessica Biel as Erin and R Lee Ermey as Sheriff Hoyt. But Mike Vogel as Morgan was good as well. Not only did Biel look pretty hot in her midriff showing top, but she actually believably played her character. And Ermey was wickedly dark and funny as the sheriff. The scene in which he wraps up a dead body’s head in cellophane in the back of the van is amazing. As is his interrogation of the character Morgan in the van about said dead girl. It’s intense as hell and totally envelops you in the scene. Really well done.
Other things I liked about this movie, they got John Larroquette to return to do the bookend voice overs. I thought that was a nice touch. He delivered the prologue and epilogue very nicely. I enjoyed Leatherface. He was only a small part of the movie, but he was pretty good. Not the star of the show, but he wasn’t really the star of the original either. I like that you see some of the underbelly of the house. You can see where they store some of the “meat” as well as you can watch Leatherface prep a victim for skinning.
One thing I didn’t like? In one scene you get a glimpse of Harry Knowles’ head on Leatherface’s workbench. Not a big deal if you don’t know who he is, but if you do, it sticks out like a sore thumb and completely brings you out of the movie. Terrible choice by the filmakers. TERRIBLE.
Otherwise, I enjoyed this remake. I thought they modernized parts of the movie while still keeping a nice look and feel. It’s definitely a modern version of the 70s “look and feel”, but I enjoyed it. To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of the original 70s Texas Chainsaw Massacre films, so it’s probably no surprise that I was willing to accept this movie as it is.
Give it a shot, if you are open minded about it, I think you’ll like it.
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