TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D (John Luessenhop). 92 minutes. Opens Friday (January 4). See listings. Rating: NN
After those dull Michael Bay-produced remakes, Texas Chainsaw 3D returns to Tobe Hooper's original massacre. The 3Dquel opens with footage from the 1974 classic and extends that story with a redneck rampage shootout that guns down the chainsaw-loving Sawyer family (including franchise favourites Bill Moseley and Gunnar Hansen). Then it fast-forwards to the present for a direct sequel constantly teetering on the edge of fan/franchise sacrilege. It's probably the best entry in the series since Hooper's 1986 sequel, but that's not saying much.
Once director John Luessenhop (Takers) and his legion of screenwriters start their story, the movie becomes a straightforward slasher, with Alexandra Daddario's midriff-flaunting Heather and three unlikeable friends piling into a van for a Texas road trip destined for dismemberment. The tongue-in-cheek tone keeps the stock genre characters and situations in the realm of gentle parody/homage before Heather is revealed to be a long-lost cousin of Leatherface (who is still alive and raring to slaughter).
The twist is idiotic given that basic math suggests the 20-something Heather should be 40, but it does allow for the film to play with the perverse family values inherent in the series.
That egregious age gap is indicative of the film's overall stupidity. But unlike most dreary contemporary horror flicks, Texas Chainsaw 3D is at least fun. The gore is creative and plentiful, the set pieces well staged, the acting decent and the 3D delightfully gimmicky (with whirring chainsaws flung and poked at the camera from every conceivable angle).
It's hard to imagine having a bad time watching all this, as long as you're willing to check your brain at the door.