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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

Directed by Marcus Nispel Screenplay by Scott Kosar

  Ah yes, I believe I recall when this film came out. It almost seemed like this was when the whole back-lashing of Michael Bay began. Which was another boat I didn’t jump in, of course for my own reasons as you may have yours for disliking him. I will say, that the repeated footage in his films were a bit tacky. (Scenes from The Island were again used in the third Transformers) But he’s in the business of making movies and that he did do well. Don’t like it? Don’t pay attention; really. I don’t think anyone should spend too much time speaking poorly of those in the movie industry, as though we could easily replace them or do better. It’s one thing to have an opinion, quite another to just unnecessarily bash someone. That’s why there are so many genres though, I’ve known people who have refused to see any “main stream” movie simply because it was considered such. Seems silly to me but then again, I don’t always expect every person to listen to me chat about every behind the scenes fact, of every movie I know. The glazing over of eyes, never a pretty sight.

  I bring this up for different reason as well. Recently I had been witness to a conversation that took place about Jessica Biel that had got me thinking, mostly because I wasn’t aware that so many people could feel a same hatred for her. Really. I mean, she’s certainly no say, Natalie Portman. She did spend the beginning of her career on that gosh awful show and being a goody two shoes, so there’s that. Every actor/actress has to start somewhere though. I think she just gets the wrong roles. She could be good in comedies, perhaps dramas. She does has a great body, sorry, it had to be said. It was the one freaking focal point of that whole movie and that’s a bit unfortunate but…yea, anyone else remember that? Horror is not going to be her thing, nor should kicking any vampire A. I wildly digress. But it’s good to have that out of the way.

  There is and will never be as great an attempt to this tale than what Daniel Pearl and Tobe Hooper gave fans with the first installment. The story certainly saw many changes throughout, this being no different. Personally believe they should have just set this film in the same year as when released. I don’t think it would have made anyone look at it any different. Or I suppose it technically was in some aspect. There was an alternate take with the film in which they showed Erin (Jessica Biel) in an Asylum and speaking with police on how the one caught and charged for the murders couldn’t have been “him,” because he had both arms. I thought they should have left that in actually. There was also an alternate take on Morgan’s (Jonathan Tucker) death that was a bit more gruesome and definitely should have been kept in. The “scares” in the beginning of the film didn’t do the trick like those near the end of the film and that would have greatly helped. Something else they took out was Erin telling her beau Kemper (Eric Balfour) that she was pregnant. Though if you pay attention to the film you can also figure that out for yourself, they weren’t very subtle about it. I don’t have any hope for the new, new Texas Chainsaw Massacre except for the fact that Bill Moseley will be coming back as Drayton Sawyer and I cannot wait to see how he does; he’s a big fan of Jim Siedow so I’m sure he’ll do justice to the role. The “story” if even able to call there one (much like in the original) was more scattered as they tried to introduce other members working with the family and it was ultimately the Sheriff as the enforcer just as much as Leatherface, taking away some of his power I felt.

  So it’s told as a new piece of evidence that has resurfaced, the “actual” account of what happened in 1973. (What was wrong with the first exactly?) I actually liked the opening of this film; they commented on not wanting five models for the cast but more of some regular Joe schmo’s. Though I call BS. They also brought up often that if set today then they would all have cell phones and internet access, which for the most part is true and a disadvantage for Horror films of today. But not everyone has a phone. I know plenty of “friends” who don’t have phones and are just fine. Myself included. So they could have made it work if they wanted. The family in this version wasn’t strong enough and R. Lee Ermey couldn’t simply carry that image alone, it’d be a different movie. He was one of the only great things about this remake and mostly because it was a lot of the same reasons we loved seeing him in Full Metal Jacket. The little boy (David Dorfman) that was running around was just weird and the others couldn’t hold up against their predecessors.

  They also have great backgrounds for the characters, except you wouldn’t know them unless going through the features. Sorry to those who don’t like to think when watching a film too much, you just may have to with this one. The jolts are okay, not as effective when originally seen. The hitchhiker was good in its own ways and effective when eventually meeting up with the Sheriff who gets pleasure in messing with the group. Anytime Biel did have to react was a bit horrendous but since when did bad acting not be expected in horror films? Surely because Erica Leerhsen‘s were so genuine was why I pointed it out. Tucker was the comedic, sarcastic nerd who I thought did great in this; he was a bit sketchy in the film Meskada but haven’t seen anything else that looked worth watching of his. The ones we lose first being the ones I also happen to favor, no surprise here; Mike Vogel and Balfour. Both of which I’ve followed since their beginnings more or less. Vogel is hilarious and I think should be put in more comedies but great no matter the genre. He buffed up for this role, which I didn’t mind either, and nicely reprises the scene of hanging by the hook. His being a bit worse because of trying to lift himself off later I thought. Leaving Balfour who I thought was perfect for the role. He breezed through his audition (they’re in the special features) and is not as well-known due to not getting enough roles that favor him when I think he has potential; and not just because I don’t mind looking at him.

  The entire look and feel of the movie was enjoyable, the far away shots of the house reminded my of the Amityville house so it was no surprise when Bay produced that next. Thought it was the only remake that he’s produced that’s been done “right.” The weather conditions in Texas were terrible (Yes, we know) and at the beginning of shooting found the location for the basement to be under water. But I enjoyed getting to see that behind the scenes for Leatherface, unlike before. The intro of him was good as well when Erin and Andy go to investigate Kemper’s disappearance and he rips open the door and starts the chainsaw. While watching him work, take notice to Harry Knowles head on a platter, literally. Something added was that instead of just cutting the leg, which happened as well, he lost an arm. Certainly making that a bit difficult to work with, ending the film with stating that it was still an open case. There were little things that were done rightly so throughout that you may not care for, to each its own. It will certainly never be the original; though fans will always know that. One thing is for sure however, that I am Texas Chainsaw Massacre’d out by now. Let’s uplift this a little shall we?