WARNING: Spoilers Ahead
Opening this up with a compilation of scenes from the original movie but re-edited with added jump scare sound effects is some pitch perfect preparation for pissing me off.
The worst part about Halloween II (as much as I like it) was its reveal that Laurie Strode is related to Michael Myers. What the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise has as opposed to the Halloween franchise, is that it’s always been about family ties. Yet, the problem with Texas Chainsaw 3D (a direct sequel to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 original that wipes the slate clean of its sequels) is that it doesn’t assume the role of Laurie Strode regarding its new protagonist. As much as the twist in Halloween II is unnecessary, it at least counters a realistic reaction from Laurie Strode: she does not give a damn about her brother because he is a cold-stone psychopath. There is no reason to sympathize and side with him because despite blood, she is the same person she was all those 17 years being raised a sane person.
I am not dicking around when I say this, but this “requel” is as if Pixar wrote a Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie, and it can be sometimes fascinating yet sometimes excruciating to behold. There is a solid attempt here at getting us to emphasize and even momentarily side with the notorious Sawyer family by showing us a classic situation where evil was combatted by evil. But really, it’s towards the end when this movie gets hilariously convoluted and sentimental.
So… essentially, the writers try to convince us that our lead character (the surviving baby of the Sawyer family) would be driven to aiding a serial killer strictly on blood and biased empathy even after he killed her best friend and boyfriend. A couple of evidence and newspapers read, and boom, she’s a new woman; 39 (yeah, the timeline is weird) years of life and morals down the drain; she is clearly someone who was socialized to be a normal person as seen when she opposes and fights against terror as Leatherface is trying to murder her and her friends; she understands the wrongdoing of the Sawyer’s being slaughtered too, so therefore this must mean she also would understand the wrongdoings of what some of the Sawyers committed back in 1973 and Leatherface’s current actions.
There is only one plausible way I can see this being justified though that they‘ve seemed to have overlooked: it would’ve been maybe effective to see how the psychotic nature of her non-blood parents (as evident in their slaughter of the Sawyers) raised her to be prone to becoming a nutcase herself. But they don’t, so there’s not enough information embedded in “Heather’s” character to really understand the motive behind her decisions — besides “blood” and justice only for “blood” for some reason? — in this ludicrous attempt at evoking pathos from the audience.
And to top it all off, the Sheriff lets Leatherface go too even after killing innocents. I can understand him not wanting to kill Leatherface, but what in the hell is assuring him that this dude won’t attack the town again? Wouldn’t he want to try arresting Leatherface so he can redeem the orderly law procedural he initially wanted to do when the Hartman’s murdered the Sawyers? I guess the writers forgot about that, huh?
Here’s maybe the biggest loss when it comes to this sequel though: aside from the mawkish themes going on here regarding family and redemption, it feels more like an everyday slasher than a Texas Chainsaw one. We don’t get the iconic family lunacies — unless you count the Hartman’s who represent the lunatics of law and media corruption —, and I’m not saying that it needs to be there, because we already had four other Texas Chainsaw movies show us that, but at least replace it with something else engaging that can warrant a reason for this movie. But alas, this is just simple slash-and-dash terror. It’s commercially, but worst of all, lifelessly directed to sheer forgettability with limited momentum or tension; even the kills in this are atrociously put together, and having decent ones would’ve been at least something to have if we’re going to get another mindless gorefest akin to the Halloween or Friday the 13th sequels.
Also, why did this end on the same shot as Saw (2004)? Lol. Wrong franchise.
“Texas Chainsaw” is now available to stream on Peacock.