Texas Chainsaw (Blu-ray)
Lionsgate / 2013 / 92 min. / R
By the numbers this is the seventh entry in the TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE franchise, the second direct sequel to the 1974 original movie and either the third or fourth reboot depending how you constitute what a reboot is. The movie opens with a very nicely done recap of the original film but then continues to show the immediate repercussions of Sally Hardesty's escape. Future Mayor of Newt, Texas (the town where everything is happening) Burt Hartman (Paul Rae) leads a rampaging mob against the Sawyers (Leatherface's family now has a name.) The mob kills almost everyone in the now very populated Sawyer residence (in the original film we see three or four residence but now there are about 15 men, women and children in the house) however a baby girl is secretly taken by a couple who cannot have children and is raised as their own. Flash forward to present day. The baby has grown up as Heather Miller (Alexandra Daddario) and learns that her real grandmother has died and left her the family estate. With a group of fresh meat... err.. close friends in tow, Heather ditches her abusive adoptive family and goes to claim her legacy and discover who she really is. And meet her cousin Leatherface (Dan Yeager) who managed to survive the massacre years ago.
Unlike any of the previous entries in the TEXAS CHAIN SAW franchise, this film really goes out of its way to forge a strong link with the 1974 original. Not only is the original films' director Tobe Hooper one of the producers but many of the key members of the original films' cast appear in (mostly) new roles and the house from the 1974 film was meticulously recreated for the opening scenes. However, despite all this reverence to THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, this movie simply doesn't feel like it is from the same world. Gone is the dirty, gritty documentary feel replaced by slick camera moves and gratuitous (though admittedly fun) 3D effects. Gone is the most terrifyingly real house of horrors in movie history, replaced by a mansion so opulent and sprawling that it puts "Dallas'" Southfork ranch to shame (it comes complete with endless catacombs as well! Catacombs! In Texas!)
What we have left is a Hatfield and McCoy story with Leatherface thrown in for good measure and it is as silly as can be. You don't even have to think back on the movie afterwards to see the glaring plot holes. On the plus side, it is a fun silly movie. Yes, Leatherface running through a carnival where the WHOLE TOWN has convened is eye-rollingly bad and how Heather discovers her family's history is laugh inducing, but you can roll with it. Unlike the 1974 film, this TEXAS CHAINSAW shows you the gore and it is well done gooki-ness that gore hounds should eat up. No sequel, reboot or remake will ever match Tobe Hoopers' 1974 masterpiece and while the 2013 TEXAS CHAINSAW is a silly (that truly is the best word to describe it) romp, it is a fun ride to see the old gang together onscreen.
No matter what you think of the movie there is no denying that Lionsgate gave it a GREAT transfer. The anamorphic 2.40 picture is near flawless with rich colors, astounding shadow detail and perfect textures.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix is even better with extremely active directional effects and razor sharp clarity.
Lionsgate didn't just stop at an excellent transfer for TEXAS CHAINSAW; they loaded this disc up with a healthy batch of supplemental material as well.
First up is not one, not two, but THREE commentary tracks featuring participants from both this incarnation of the film and the 1974 original. Here's who you get:
Track 1 features Director of this version John Luessenhop and his Leatherface, Dan Yeager.
Track 2 finds Producer of this version, Carl Mazzocone paired up with the original films' director Tobe Hooper.
Track 3 is the special "Chainsaw Alumni" track with the original Leatherface and this films' Boss Sawyer (Gunnar Hansen), Grandfather in both movies (John Dugan) and Sally Hardesty and this movies Verna Carson (Marilyn Burns) joined by TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE PART 2's Chop-Top and this films' Drayton Sawyer Bill Moseley.
The great batch of featurettes is all well worth checking out, particularly if you are a fan of horror films:
"TEXAS CHAINSAW Legacy" features a solid group of participants from both the original film and this reboot discussing the franchise.
"Resurrecting the Saw" could be seen as an extension of the "Legacy" featurette with more crew members discussing the reboot specifically.
"The Old Homestead" focuses on recreating the original farmhouse.
"Casting Terror" visits most of the cast of the reboot.
"Leatherface 2013" zeroes in on Dan Yeager specifically.
"Lights, Camera, Massacre" is all about the use of 3D in this version.
"It's In The Meat" is a special effects featurette.
"On Set Short Subjects: Five Minute Massacres" is a load of interesting B-Roll.
An "Alternate Opening" and the original theatrical trailer round out the goodies.
Dopey, silly and nowhere even close to the level of horror of the original 1974 film, this TEXAS CHAINSAW is at least fun and better than many of the previous outings in this franchise. Recommended for Leatherface fans only.
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