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Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)

Written and Directed by Kim Henkel

  As you can see I have decided to skip over the third installment. Unless someone desperately needs to hear an opinion on that film, I don’t believe it’d be worth giving a whole review to. Which skips us forward with this little gem here staring two pretty well-known actors by now. Matthew McConaughey was coming from Dazed and Confused, where Renee did have a role as one of the extras. The only role of hers I believe I’ve actually enjoying was in was Empire Records, and the what seemed 5 minutes in White Oleander. For those who don’t remember, Kim Henkel was one of the creators of the characters of the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre and was said that this was the intended sequel to the first installment. So did it do any more justice than what was actually released after the first?

  Jenny (Renée Zellweger) is getting ready for Prom when her step-father comes in, acting aggressive and throwing her around the room when trying to call her mother for help. Only degrading his wife who apparently had a habit of marrying men every so often; only getting satisfaction from her daughter before they would tire and move on. At Prom we hear the shutter click/screech we all know and love as Jenny takes photos. Frantically searching for boyfriend Barry (Tyler Cone) is oh so annoying Heather (Lisa Marie Newmyer). (And I do mean annoying) When she finally does find him, its behind one of the pillars at school while checking the tonsils of another girl. Her reaction? To run off and take his car, but not before stopping to let the jerk in before actually taking off. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose a little? Loverboy’s excuse being that she was too frigid and that men needed to have sex, prostate cancer could happen if not taken care of properly. But before she’s able to fall for anymore of his crap, Jenny and Sean (John Harrison) pop up out of the back so as to intervene on what they couldn’t take hearing any longer. Not paying attention to the road causes them to run into a car but worried Heather takes off with Barry now more concerned on what his father would say about the damage. Heather’s bright response on the matter being “Wait, wait, wait, I just thought of something so cool. What if we got into a wreck and we crashed into a car in front of us and we all died. They could write a song about it!”

  Apparently being a magnet for wrecks, yet another car collides with them; this time the driver being knocked unconscious. Unsure of what to do next, Sean stays behind while the three go search for help. All the while Heather insisting on knowing that someone was following her and that they were all going to die. Finding only a dead carcass before reaching a house where they run into Darla (Tonie Perensky) who offers the only assistance able to find. She makes a call to Vilmer (McConaughey) about the incident and tells him to pick up the 2 boys and cars. Things getting a bit weird once a brick is thrown through the window and instead of getting upset, Darla flashes the “crazy boys” just doing what could to get her attention. Meanwhile we see Vilmer catch up to Sean and taking a look at the driver. He decides that the driver was dead even though Sean stated just having heard him speak, braking his neck and declaring he was dead now either way. Eventually chasing down Sean and gathering both. For whatever reason, Jenny lets Barry and Heather chase after a truck while staying behind and got irked by the environment; wanting to go check on Sean.

  Heather than decides to layout the way she really is, “acting” dumb was just how she got people to like her. Because, there’s nothing I’d like more in a friend. The two find a house of which no one seems to be home. Barry walking around the house and finding W (Joe Stevens) who consistently used quotes to inform him of his idiotic manners. Leatherface quietly stepping onto the porch directly behind Heather as he begins playing with her hair. When she finally does turn around Leatherface acts just as terrified to see her and begins screaming as he fights with her, chasing her for entirely too long. Hopefully you can recall the scene in the original in which Sally had been put into a ground fridge; it’s just showing how she got into there, the whole time Leatherface screaming and I’ve got be honest with you…just, no. Barry is able to get inside the house while locking the owner out and making his way to the bathroom. Being hit and tossed into the ground fridge as Heather is moved to the hooks where we see yes, another scene from the original. Vilmer having found his way to Jenny and offering a ride to a young lady who shouldn’t be out in the woods by herself. It seems she had the right idea as far as not talking to strangers but decides to do away with that and gets in either way after not getting any information from him. She’s forced to look in the back where she sees the bodies and runs for her life through the forest, and runs…I hate when they extend these type of scenes in film and they’re not even entertaining chase sequences. May seem like an easy enough shot but if it’s too long and repetitive then it’s lost with the audience within moments. Worse was the shot of Jenny trying to escape from Leatherface which involved oddly jumping out of a window and leaping like some jungle cat to the telephone wire and falling after it had been cut.

   She ends back up with Darla and complains about the trucker having killed Sean. “Who’s Vilmer?” Solving the issue by calling up W and having him come down to help out. They stick her in the truck as Darla goes off to pick up a couple of pizzas before heading back home when seeing a familiar face in the road. Somehow, Heather made it off that hook and was able to drag herself a whole mile and asks for help to receive quite the comical hit from Darla, who then gives up shortly after stating not wanting her to go anywhere. Kind enough to also give us the details of what the family was really doing here; the whole time working for this man, Rothman, who visits them later on. The reason being that there were families like such placed all over the world in which are only meant to kill. The dinner scene certainly ringing a repeated bell or two. Have we all figured out that the dinner scene is meant to be creepy? We also get to see a popular quote of Matthew’s; “Alright, alright, alright.” The family as well constantly fighting with one anther while W treats Leatherface terrible and he well, just kinda likes do his best impression of some chick in a low-budget horror film. Hey,wait a sec…

   The visit from “that guy” happens who is angry that the job was still not done,  “I want these people to know the meaning of horror.” His nasty tongue finding its way all over Jenny’s face (bet that was a fun day of shooting). Heather at this point is set on fire and put out with Vilmer’s robotic leg that for some reason he dawns. The fact that he had two remotes for it made less sense. He and Darla exchange in these awkward scenes with one another while half fighting and half “going at each other.” She would also use the remote in a way that seemed to almost turn him on that was just as odd as when they would fight. Just one of the many off things about this installment. When he would cut himself was just too much for me. Matthew did okay in the role but that’s mainly because I never mind watching him on-screen. This movie was just too much! Nothing more than a rehashing of the before characters and films. Of course Jenny makes it out and goes to a hospital to receive some assistance. I did like that Marilyn Burns made a cameo at the end. She’s the catatonic patient seen atop the stretcher passing Jenny. Actually, that might be the only part of the film I actually enjoyed. I’m kind of glad this wasn’t the sequel, of which was easily better by comparison. If Newmyer was trying to play the oh so annoying girl who can’t act and can’t wait to see killed, then great job. Same with Cone who played Barry. It ended the same way as the original, only Leatherface was geared up as a girl. Certainly in need now more than ever of a better word for the good ol’ Sawyer family. They seemed to have lost their touch somewhere along the way.