Monday, October 16, 2017

Horror Countdown 2017: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) dir. Marcus Nipsel, Next Entertainment/Platinum Dunes/Rader Pictures

After the strange mess that was the Next Generation, how would a new generation handle the saga of Leatherface? Although the last two takes had been practically remakes themselves, I suppose someone else deserved the right to screw things up.

Five youths are on vacation in the hazy days of 1973. Erin (Jessica Biel), her boyfriend Kemper (Eric Balfour), stoner Morgan (Jonathan Tucker), horndog Andy (Mike Vogel) and equally horny Pepper (Erica Leerhsen) are on their way to a Lynard Skynard concert after a few days in Mexico (in which Kemper bought a few pounds of weed, but he's not telling his friends that).

Yup, things are pretty cool right now, at least until the group sees a dazed young woman (Lauren German) stumbling down the middle of the road. They pick her up, but all she does is mumble how she wants to go home. She then notices the direction Kemper is driving and screams how she won't go back...all before yanking a gun out from under her dress and blowing a sizable hole in her head.

The concert plans on hold, the group pulls into the first gas station they can find. The old woman (Mamie Meek) is oddly unbothered by all this and calls the sheriff. The group can meet him at the old mill a few miles away.

The mill is a ruin surrounded by junk. The group ends up finding a picture of the hitchhiker though, which raises more questions. They find some answers in the form of Jedidiah (David Dorfman), a scraggly toothed child who says he knows where the sheriff is, namely a house not too far away. Erin and Kemper hoof it through the tall grass towards the massive home. There's no sheriff, just an old legless man named Monty (Terrence Evens), who lets Erin inside but not Kemper. 

This doesn't sit well with the dude, who comes in after a wait. He doesn't find Erin, but he finds Leatherface (Andrew Bryniarski) and Leatherface's sledgehammer. One whack later, Kemper is chilling in the basement's freezer, leaving Erin to walk back to mill. She brings Andy back to the house when she realizes Kemper isn't there, but the two meet Leatherface and his new mask, which was formerly Kemper's face. Erin gets away, Andy isn't as lucky.

Racing back to the van, she, Morgan, and Pepper are ready to split when Sheriff Hoyt (R. Lee Ermey) arrives. The sheriff seems more outraged at the smoldering joint left in the van's ashtray then the reports of mayhem the teens tell him. He drags Morgan off, leaving the girls to deal with the arriving Leatherface. Erin escapes again, but this time Pepper isn't as lucky. 

From there things go from bad to worse as it seems everyone in the small county is in league with Leatherface. Can Erin escape? And what will be left of her?

Not terrible. Not a straight remake, which is good, although honestly I found it a little too glossy. Seriously, the Hewitt house looks to be bigger on the inside and a basement roughly twenty acres wide. It still follows the basic slasher method though, so the whole thing feels a bit irrelevant. 

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