The saw finally returns in true form with “official” follow-up to the 1974 original. Despite obvious errors, this film does well due to a major plot twist in the third act.
August 19, 1973. Minutes after Sally Hardesty escaped the house of horrors belonging to the Sawyer family, Sheriff Hooper heads to the house to arrest Jedidiah Sawyer, the chainsaw-wielding killer known as “Leatherface”. However, a band of townsfolk led by Burt Hartman decide to take justice in their own hands and proceeds to burn the house down, killing all but Loretta Sawyer and her baby. One of the townsfolk, Gavin Miller, takes the baby and kills Loretta. Along with his wife, Arlene, and the baby, Gavin leaves Texas for the Midwest.
Present day. Heather Miller is a butcher at a local supermarket as well as work as an abstract artist. When she receives a letter stating that her grandmother, Verna Carson, has died, she is shocked to learn she was adopted. She learns she has an inheritance in Texas. With the support of her boyfriend Ryan, best friend Nikki, and Nikki’s boyfriend Kenny, Heather decides to go to Texas en route to New Orleans to see what she has been given. Along the way, they pick up hitchhiker Darryl. When the group arrives, Heather learns she has been given a mansion. Surprised, they all decide to stay the night. However, they will soon learn that someone lurks in the cellar of the mansion…someone by the name of Jedidiah Sawyer.
After the 1974 original film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, there have been numerous sequels and even a reboot nearly a decade ago. After a prequel to the reboot was released in 2006, many may have felt that the saw had finally run out of gas. However, the company behind the Saw films decided that they can attempt at not really a reboot, but an attempt at a true sequel. Enter Stephen Susco, Adam Marcus, and Debra Sullivan, three horror veterans who are known for sequels and reboots. Susco wrote the screenplay for the American remake of Ju-On known as The Grudge (2004) while Marcus and Sullivan had teamed up on writing Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1991). In their attempt to make a true follow-up to the film, they did make one little error that everyone has noticed and complained about.
With the film set in both 1973 and the present day, one would expect the lead character of Heather Miller to be nearly forty years old. However, in casting twenty-six year-old lead actress Alexandra Daddario (The Percy Jackson films), the core cast of would-be victims are in their mid-twenties, kind of a mandatory rule in horror films these days. Despite this major error, it is okay to forgo it as Daddario has the makings of a future “scream queen”.
Newcomer Dan Yeager takes on the central role of Leatherface. The 6’6” actor pulls it off quite well as the now aging killer. Despite the title, as with the original film, he doesn’t resort to just using a chainsaw. He uses a sledgehammer, meat hooks, and a small axe at one point. Still the simple-minded killer he was in the original, there is only one thing that means everything to him: family.
The film has loads of references to the original film. From the opening montage of classic clips to a shot of a dead armadillo, the producers’ intentions are known here. As for the bloody action, well, there are only three very gory scenes in the film. They include an incapacitated victim getting sawed in half through the waist, one victim getting his face cut off (a reference to perhaps Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)), and the climax. Other than that, the film is nearly as bloody as the original film.
Perhaps a major influence in the series as a whole is the cameo appearances of cast members from the original film and one from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. The original “Leatherface”, Gunnar Hansen and the original survivor, Marilyn Burns, play members of the Sawyer clan while John Dugan, who played the grandfather in the original film, returns to reprise that very same role in the film’s opening sequence. As for Drayton Sawyer, Bill Moseley, who played Chop-Top (who according to chainsaw legend, was in Vietnam in 1973), makes a suitable replacement for the late Jim Siedow as Drayton Sawyer in the film’s opening montage and scene.
The third act will definitely stun viewers. Let’s put it this way: when a dark secret is revealed, you may end up rooting for the killer (If you haven’t already) and the very end does leave room for a sequel.
Texas Chainsaw 3D may not please all the hardcore fans of the original film, but it is a fun scare. Dan Yeager truly is worthy of taking the mantle of Leatherface and the new formula works here, even if we have to suspend the annals of time to enjoy it and have perhaps the single worst line in horror movie history.
WFG RATING: B
Lionsgate and Millennium Films present a Mainline Productions/Nu Image Films production. Director: John Luessenhop. Producer: Carl Mazzocone. Writers: Adam Marcus, Debra Sullivan, Kirsten Elms, and Stephen Susco; based on the original characters created by Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel. Cinematography: Anastas N. Michos. Editing: Randy Bricker.
Cast: Alexandra Daddario, Dan Yeager, Tremaine ‘Trey Songz’ Neverson, Tania Raymonde, Scott Eastwood, Keram Malicki-Sanchez, Shaun Sipos, Thom Barry, Paul Rae, David Born, Sue Rock, Bill Moseley, Gunnar Hansen, John Dugan, Marilyn Burns.