Texas Chainsaw 3D [Blu-Ray] John Luessenhop

Texas Chainsaw 3D [Blu-Ray] John Luessenhop
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Ignoring all of the atrocious sequels (some delightfully so, check out The Next Generation, with a young Renée Zellweger) and remakes of Tobe Hooper's overrated but admittedly unsettling low budget '70s slasher, the most recent Texas Chainsaw Massacre posits itself as a direct sequel to the original. In the opening scene, a policeman responds to the reports of a crazy cannibal family butchering college kids. Before he can get the deranged clan to give up their most disturbed member, a posse of enraged townsfolk shows up and fire bombs the hell out of the Sawyer family home after a brief gunfire exchange. A random guy saves a baby from the fire and he and his wife raise the little girl as their own. Skip forward an unspecified number of years and that infant is a young woman who has just inherited the family home of a grandmother she didn't know she had. She and her generally attractive friends decide to take a road trip to check out the property. Guess which skin-wearing man-child survived the fire and is living in the basement? Made of the stuff of a thousand interchangeable direct-to-video descendants of cheap, savage horror, John Luessenhop's instalment largely follows the franchise blueprint, but substitutes Hooper's grainy, faux-doc aesthetic for a clean, clear, nondescript music video look. To get the bloodshed started, a beefy hitchhiker accidentally wanders into the lion's den, unleashing an aged version of the iconic villain to gruesomely dispatch him and the rest of the group. While it's mostly just a string of nasty kills, the story takes a few ridiculous twists in its attempts to turn Leatherface into a sympathetic monster, in the vein of Frankenstein's misunderstood creation. It doesn't work; it's hard to sympathize with a guy who wears human skin masks. The result, basically, is a lot of horrible, stupid stuff happening to a lot of horrible, stupid people, none of whom we really know anything significant about. Testing the capacity of Blu-Ray memory storage, both the 2D and 3D versions are crammed onto one disc, along with a heap of special features. A bunch of these come in the form of production featurettes. Stars of the original Massacre, including Marilyn Burns and Gunnar Hansen, show up to lend some credibility to the reverent reconstruction of the original Sawyer family homestead. All of the veterans, also counting John Dugan and Bill Moseley among their numbers, have cameos in the film and participate in a group commentary track. The boys get a little rowdy around Ms. Burns, but she's a good sport and most of their talk is loose and familiar, in a way that allows them to openly dismiss elements of the film they're discussing. The filmmaker's contributions are obviously less critical. John Luessenhop takes the back seat in a bland commentary recorded with the current Leatherface, Dan Yeager, and is generally less interesting than everyone around him in the assorted featurettes. Overestimating the likely interest level of home viewers, producer Carl Mazzocone, who has an uncomfortable degree of lust in his eyes when he speaks of lead actress Alexandra Daddario (Bereavement), contributes to a third commentary with Tobe Hooper, who unsurprisingly gives this by-the-book franchise extension a thumbs up. If you've really got a burning desire to see how mediocre movie magic is made, there's also a pointless alternate opening, and a bunch of short special effect and stunt demonstrations. (VVS)