Horror Movie Month! "Texas Chainsaw 3D" Review

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The seventh installment in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise is the first to be presented in 3D. Decades later and hundreds of miles away from the original massacre, a young woman named Heather (Alexandra Daddario) learns that she has inherited a Texas estate from a long lost grandmother. She heads out on a road trip to collect the inheritance, unaware that it includes her cousin, Leatherface (Dan Yeager), as well.
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Horror Movie Month! "Texas Chainsaw 3D" Review

Rating: R
Length: 92 minutes
Release Date: Jan. 4, 2013
Directed by: John Luessenhop
Genre: Horror, Thriller

When horror fans think of their favorite horror film icons, they think of names like Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and Leatherface. Introduced in the 1970s, Leatherface was the brainchild of director Tobe Hooper, who created the character after hearing stories about serial killer Ed Gein. After scaring viewers for more than thirty years, Leatherface turned up in a new film: "Texas Chainsaw 3D." Over the years, fans have seen a remake of the first film and a prequel that explained the early life of the main character. This film also goes back to Leatherface's roots.

The film opens just a few minutes after the end of the first film, when Sally escapes from the Texas home where Leatherface and his family tortured her and murdered her friends. As the mayor and sheriff argue over what to do with the man, the camera slowly pans across the set to show a young boy sitting and listening to their conversation. The film then jumps forward to the present day and introduces new characters.

Heather receives word that she recently inherited a large sum of money and a home from a family member. Though she has never heard of that relative before, she decides to hop in the car and take a road trip to Texas with her friends Nikki and Kenny and boyfriend Ryan. They find the house without any problems, and she discovers a letter left behind by her lawyer that gives her a short history of her family. As the group explores the house and settles in, they have no idea that Leatherface lurks in the depths of the basement and wants his home back.

"Texas Chainsaw 3D" did a smart job of setting the film in the present day, unlike the last few films in the series, which took place in the 1970s. Those who look closely might notice that the filmmakers never explain when the film actually does take place. Though the music playing on the car is contemporary, several of the characters use cellphones, and their clothing is more modern, most of the characters are in their early twenties, including Heather. Given the birth date listened in the early parts of the film, Heather should be in her early thirties, but that one flaw shouldn't detract from the overall story.

Past films in the franchise used popular actors, including Jessica Biel, but this film uses unknown actors in many of the major roles, and the new faces allow viewers to focus on the story. Alexandra Daddario is the only recognizable face in the film, having previously worked on "Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief." As the sweet and wholesome Heather, she helps carry the film. Daddario also does a good job of portraying the changes that Heather goes through. As a poor young girl, she just wants to sell the house and use the money to help herself and her boyfriend.

Few of the other characters in the film are very important to the story. Though some of them die in unique and interesting ways, the only characters who really add anything to the film are Nikki and Ryan. As Heather's boyfriend, Ryan should stand by her side and support her as she makes an important decision, but he can't keep his eyes or his hands off her best friend. Each time the two share a knowing glance or sneak away for a few moments together, viewers will find themselves rooting for Heather and wondering why she puts up with him.

"Texas Chainsaw 3D" also incorporates a few elements that horror fans will appreciate and recognize from other horror films. When the group stops their van to pick up a hitchhiker standing on the side of the road, fans will remember a similar scene in the first film. It also reminds viewers that while Leatherface is really just a man, he's also much more. He can run faster than a moving car, and even metal fences and guns won't slow him down. It's clear that the minds behind this film respect the other films in the franchise.

Though it's not the best horror film in recent years, "Texas Chainsaw 3D" is a solid entry in the franchise. It reintroduces the character of Leatherface in a fun new way and does a smart job of letting him shine as the star of the film. Between the villain, the gore, and the great scares, this is a perfect flick for Halloween.

Rating: 3 out of 5