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Saturday, January 05, 2013

An Open Letter To The Makers Of Texas Chainsaw 3D

If you haven't seen the movie, please be warned....there are spoilers ahead!!!

First, let me state (for those who don't know me) that I'm one of the biggest fans of the Texas Chainsaw franchise that there is.  I've seen every movie, own them on DVD and even have a small statue of this doesn't come from a place of hate.  But, I feel that I have to say this, the new Texas Chainsaw 3D is one of the most disappointing movies I've seen in some time.

When I first read about this sequel/remake, I wasn't all that excited, after all, we've been down this road before with mixed results.  But after reading about what the plot of the movie was going to be, I began to get excited.  After all, we've seen remake and retellings, but we've never seen a sequel to the original...not a straight-ahead sequel anyway, and that seemed like it had potential.

The idea of rebuilding the original house, and continuing the story from where the original 1974 movie ended was, in my opinion, sheer brilliance!  After all, didn't we all wonder what happened after Sally Hardesty got away?  Well, when you planned to tell that story, I was pretty excited, all of our old friends would be back, The Cook, Grandpa and, of course, Leatherface...what could be better?

Well, sitting in the darkened theatre, I couldn't wait, then the movie began and I couldn't believe it, it was actually opening with the original movie!!  We really were going back to the beginning and picking the story up!  Genius!  Then, as the movie moved on, some things began to bother me.

First, the original was done in 1974, but this movie clearly takes place in the present.  Now, I know there were no dates given in the original, but it was pretty obvious that it was 1974, so, if we allow for Heather's age, it should be around 1994, at least, but, since it's 2012 in the movie, then Heather should be nearly 40!  And Leatherface would easily be in his 60s!!!!!!  He got around pretty good for an old guy carrying a chainsaw.

Next, where did all the Sawyers come from??  In the original, I don't remember anyone mentioning a bigger family, it was Drayton, Grandpa, the Hitchhiker and Leatherface...where the hell did the big Sawyer clan come from???  I understand that we're taking some license here, but shouldn't we explain where all these people came from?  Did the original Sawyer bunch live on the larger Sawyer property and the bigger clan left them alone??  A bit of explanation might have been in order.

And, finally, the thing that bothered me the most, how could you possibly make a Texas Chainsaw movie and wind up making the Sawyers the GOOD GUYS?!?!?!?!  The whole 'charm' of the Texas Chainsaw movies was the unrepentant evil that was in the family, the fact that they didn't see people in the same way that we do, the fact that killing was just something that was done, without remorse or a second thought.  The fact that the Sawyers were the villains of the piece was part of the fun of a Texas Chainsaw movie.  Trying to make the Hartman family some kind of Hatfields to the Sawyers McCoys was nothing short of ignorant!

In an interview, I read that the plan was to make the Texas Chainsaw franchise the next Saw.  In the Saw movies, the filmmakers became focused on new and innovative ways to kill people, nearly to the exclusion of all else.  In this movie, you really didn't even do that, there wasn't any new or innovative kills, the only mildly interesting murder was cutting a man in half....and even that's been done in other Texas Chainsaw movies, so there wasn't even any new ground broken in that regard.

All you really did was take a known name in terror and marginalize it.  Making the 'monster' sympathetic, or attempting to, in a Texas Chainsaw movie, takes away all the teeth that the franchise held.  The point of a Texas Chainsaw movie is to make the audience uncomfortable, to take us somewhere that we don't want to go, and, ultimately, scare the hell out of us.  Texas Chainsaw 3D never scared me once, I never felt uncomfortable, and, after the movie was over, I felt disappointed.  All the potential that was there for an original story to follow up the first movie was completely wasted, and making the Sawyers 'sympathetic', ruined any follow up that could have happened.  After all, no one wants to see Leatherface as the misunderstood hero, he's an unrepentant killer...that's what's scary about him.  Now, he's just a mentally deficient guy who loves his family...not that scary!

In closing, if the plan was the make this the new Saw...meaning that we could drop one of these out every year...rethink the direction that you're taking.  It's not too late to save the franchise, you can pick the story up where it is, but twist it, bring our original dark, evil, unremorseful, Leatherface back to us, give us a story that will make us cringe in our seats, that will have us leaving the theatre saying to each other, 'what the fuck did we just see?!?!', a movie that is worthy of the name Texas Chainsaw!

Thank you,
The Saw Is Family


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