12 October 2014

October 12th

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) directed by Marcus Nipsel
Why set this in 1973? Aren't modern remakes supposed to update things to make them relevant for the kids buying the tickets? Supposedly, the lack of cellphones and Google confuses them too much to enjoy these otherwise. But, seriously, we've already got the perfect TCM movie set in 1973 and the time period has no relevance to the story. In fact, I found it annoying as the filmmakers were desperate to let us know "hey, it's the 1970s, everyone!" There's a goofy "space helmet" 8-track player in the van, as well as a MAD Magazine poster on the ceiling and a "Shit Happens" bumper sticker on the back. Plus. the kids are traveling to a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert and are passing joints as they sing along to "Sweet Home Alabama." We get it.

This is sort of the problem with the whole movie. Why are they doing anything that they're doing? Because, "hey. this is a redneck horror movie, everyone!" There doesn't seem to be any story the filmmakers are trying to tell here. What are the Hewitts doing in Texas? Are they working at the meat packing plant we see at the end? Are they cannibals? Are they inbred? I have no idea. All they appear to do is facilitate Leatherface's hobby of chopping people up in his inexplicably raining basement.

The flavor found in the original is gone; this is a dry piece of meat. This move is so desaturated it almost looks gray. The characters are either pure evil or redneck simpletons. Where's Drayton yelling at Leatherface for ruining the door? Where's the crazy hitchhiker talking about head cheese? What about the dinner scene?

Though, as a purely horrific run through a carnival funhouse, the movie serves its purpose. It's packed with plenty of tension and horror. The set designs tend to be detailed and crazy. I like that the entire properly is littered with junk and teeth and old cars. The cinematography -- though washed of all color -- is really good, with beautiful shots of moonlight streaming through the trees, and a cool shot of the camera exiting the bullet hole in the window of the van.

I think this tends to describe the Platinum Dunes remakes in general: nice to look at, but lacking in story.

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