The Texas Chainsaw Massacre*
I unfortunately had to see this movie. I had to see it because of my history with Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I was one of those people who fell under the trance of the Saw back in the day. There was something about that movie that was so pure and good. There is a great innocence to it. And in my opinion sits as a masterpiece at the top of the list of all horror movies. After viewings that go well into the double digits, for me it retains a level of dread and base fear at a shockingly high level. Images and scenes from that movie are burned so deeply in my head that I can recall them clearly at any time. The hitchhikers face after he slices his hand. The chicken in the birdcage. The windmill. The hook. The girl screaming nonstop at the dinner (there was simply no other option). And the fantastic ending with her free! Finally free! Free to laugh away the last bit of her sanity... as Leatherface burns off frustration, whirling in the street.
I went to see this flick with the friend who I saw Saw with back in the day. Beers, videogames, and saw was a regular routine for probably far too long. So we had to see the *New* Saw as soon as it came out. (Even though we knew it had 99% chance to suck.) The idea of remaking the Saw seemed sacrilegious and *New* Saw seemed wrong. It starts off with the van was driving along to the tune of 'Sweet Home Alabama' (true horror). No Frankin in the wheelchair. The acting and dialogue seemed too scripted. The great R. Lee Emery was miscast due to typecasting. It didn't seem like the 70's. And the jiggle factor was overdone. I mean please... the main victim chick never untied her t-shirt knot which showed off her belly and boobs. Through trauma, running, scratching and clawing, fighting, running, pervs, struggling, covered in blood, whatever... that t-shirt knot stayed tied. Her belly exposed. Check it. It stayed that way till the end. (She looked great and her fabboobs bouncy bounced around for us)- but in terms of realism (the heart of the Saw)... not unknotting was a distracting turnoff.
The violence for the most part was cheapshot at the extreme. It was almost as if it was dictated by asking the MPAA what would keep it within an R. Some of it was respectably cringeworthy but they also missed the point about what was scary about the original. Some guy in the backseat of a car who gets a bottle smashed across his face and spits out his teeth is simply not as scary as a girl stuffed in a wheat sack on the floor of the frontseat having her muffled screams jabbed at with a stick by the driver who still pretends to be friendly. It's the simple things, y'know?
There was also typical eye rollingly bad choices made by the 'kids' in *New* Saw. The 'anyone-in-their-right-mind-would-say-let's-get-the-hell-out-of-here' factor was on the table for far too long. Especially because they had alot of time to think. They had time to think it through. And when they finally decided to go, they were prevented unrealistically. I'm at a point now where I'd prefer 'the kids' to make the logical smart decision and then have it go wrong from that point. Isn't that scarier? Or am I reading into it and taking this too seriously? Probably.
Also in *New* Saw, Leatherface was somewhat transformed from a enthusiastic manchild butcher (who simply liked things to be in order)-- to a more traditional stalking killer. His superstardom was an unavoidable stumbling block. But his improved workshop is expanded and pleasantly disgustified.
In its defense, I did feel like *New* Saw cared and tried to do good. There were some newish characters that were solidly demented. But for every good there was a bad. And one new thunderdome-ish child character (unnecessarily thrown into the mix) actually provided help and hope -which was a big error in context. Hope? Help? Hello! Hell! Why bother? It even ended with some extra special hope! Uch. Gross..
Three Good Things About This Movie
- There were some scenes that did bring on moments of good tense helplessness.
- One particular shot of Leatherface with a brand new mask was chilling.
- It was sort of interesting watching it and adding up what was wrong with it from a historical perspective.
Three Bad Things About This Movie
- Her t-shirt knot stayed tied.
- The feeling of 'family' wasn't strong enough.
- It was badly corrupted by both studio execs and political correctness.
All in all, this movie on its own is decent horror movie. It's got some fear and some gross. But it insists on comparison. And remaking Saw into something that is at all necessary is an near impossible task to me. Stay too close to the original? I'd roll my eyes. Stray too far? Obvious. Kick the violence up a notch? I see what you're doing. Breaking new ground with the gore? Great. Whatever. Remaking this is like remaking Apocalypse Now. What's would be the point? The Saw was made in that moment in time that's where it's from. That's where it lives on. And as a true classic it shouldn't qualify as a candidate for a remake. At the very least they should have enough friggin respect to untie the knot.