"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"
Directed by Marcus Nispel.
Written by Scott Kosar. Based on the 1974 film of the same
Starring Jessica Biel, Jonathan Tucker and R. Lee Ermey.
Release Year: 2003
Review Date: 10/27/03
Sadly, I have still not seen the original
“The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” film from 1974, based on a true crime
that took place in the early 70s that has still not been solved.
But, I figured I would just catch up to that classic later; in the
meantime, dammit, we’ve got another chance at a great horror film!
I saw this at a packed house the day that it
opened, and the combination of scares plus great crowd interaction
led to me having a blast at the movies. Five friends are heading to
a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert on a hot, humid day in August when they
come across a girl that is looking pretty rough and walking
aimlessly down a highway. After the friends pick her up and ask her
why she’s mumbling about her dead relatives, she gets a little too
friendly with a handgun and this leads the kids to meet up with one
of the most whacked-out families in the history of whacked-out
families. One of these guys loves chainsaws too!
The best thing about the 2003 version of
this film is the mood that is created after the kids meet up with
the fucked-up family in question. You can just feel your stomach
swirling around after we meet Leatherface (ahem, the guy that loves
chainsaws) and we get to see his lab and his severely twisted
workbench. It helps that this guy loves cutting people up, hanging
them on metal hooks and, oh, carving faces off of dead bodies.
Eck! But, the music plus all of those amputated limbs makes for
some pretty nasty stuff later in the film, and we know we have a
body count since we are informed of it in the film’s opening
Jessica Biel and R. Lee Ermey (the sarge
from “Full Metal Jacket”) are the only faces you will recognize
here; thanks to a small budget and sparse sets, the film’s budget
came in under $10 million but it doesn’t show for the most part.
The performers do a great job of working with nothing here and the
kids all look appropriately scared shitless when the situation calls
The film would probably not been as good had
I watched it in an empty theater, but I wouldn’t know about that for
sure. As it was, girls yelled out anytime something remotely scary
was about to happen; four Latinos sitting behind me were yelling out
in Spanish every time a good guy was about to do something terribly
stupid, which made me think that they were saying things like
“Don’t go in there, you dumb bitch!” or
“Shoot that muthafucka, man! Shoot ‘im!!”
so all of this made for a better
experience. Taking that into consideration, plus the fact that the
body count could have been higher (even IF it stretched the truth a
bit), the movie is a steal for $7 and a bit of a stretch to see at
night. But, keeping with the strong showing of horror films in
2003, you can’t really go wrong with “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard