Texas Chainsaw 3D beat out the Christmas-favorites Django Unchained and Les Miserables this weekend for a surprising $23 million box office victory. Rare for an R-rated horror movie, and a franchise that many feel is more hopeless and dead than Leatherface’s victims.
The seventh installment, starring Alexandra Daddario (Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Parenthood), “Say Ahh” rapper Trey Songz and Scott Eastwood (Clint’s son), opens with footage from the 1974 classic, and starts where it left off.
Director John Luessenhop (Takers) and writer Adam Marcus (Jason Goes To Hell) try to lure pity from their audience as a standoff ensues between the police, the cannibalistic Sawyer family and an overwhelming number of vengeful locals looking to burn down their farmhouse.
The later focus is Tiffani Amber Thiessen lookalike Daddario, who plays Heather, the young woman with the good luck to inherit her grandmother’s home in Texas.
“Families are messy, nothing’s thicker than blood,” a hitchhiker tells Heather and her friends, who are braless and shirtless by mandate. The phrase, best uttered by toothless mouths, is highly thematic.
It’s not hard to guess what happens when the group of young adults begin partying in the slightly lavish, very gated house. Retarded face-wearer Jeb is never far off, though two of the “main” characters are actually killed in accidents, and not by his saw.
You end up relating to the older actors, like Thom Barry as the tired sheriff and Richard Riehle as Heather’s lawyer, since the others besides Daddario and hilariously in-heat Tania Raymonde are awful expendable drones. If you’re familiar with the genre, then you probably know what to expect.
I went in with low expectations (as should you), and was surprised that it was maybe more entertaining and unexpected than 2006’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre The Beginning.
Unexpected because there is no onscreen sex – just corrupt cops and townspeople and the familiar attempt at monster-sympathy. Literally bloodthirsty hillbillies feuding with figuratively bloodthirsty hillbillies. Yeehaw.