The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre ★★½

I use to think that this was one of the better slasher remakes of the 2000s wave of horror films. I still think it has quite a bit of merit with the original DP’s return, the film carries a different kind of gross sick feeling dripping across the frame (complimented by the appropriately rotten production design). But I think the film’s biggest problem is just how overproduced and extreme it goes for nearly the entire runtime, only getting progressing more and more extreme until it just becomes white noise. You can only run on one mood for so long before it becomes nothing but numbing, dry, and hard to take seriously. The original film is also extreme but the pacing, delivery of scares, the different modes of execution, the tension between subtle and over the top is what made that film terrifying. And that isn’t to say that’s what this movie had to do. Not at all. Even Tobe Hooper knew he couldn’t recreate that same lightning in the bottle (opting instead for its perversely comedic circus show of horror that is criminally underrated). And I do give this movie credit for not falling down the path of trying to recreate the original’s magic (and I do have to give this movie even more credit, some of the initial images of horror are terrifying and memorable). But this does just get monotonous after a while. And to be clear I'm not put off by the violence or extremities, it's just constructed in a way that is exhausting and struggles to create a consistent artifice. I do think this movie does deserve more attention for the simple fact that this might have single-handed shifted the direction of horror in North America in the 2000s (just consider how slashers look and felt before and after this film). But I'm almost definitely sure it wasn’t a good shift but culturally I find it interesting (I wish I found the movie a bit better tho).

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