30 years after the original shocked fans worldwide, we get this glossy, big budget reboot. It was a hit film, but its a real piece of trash film. I've tried to watch it countless times and I always end up bored, angry and usually restless enough to fast-forward to the more interesting parts (never has the word "interesting" meant so little in a blockbuster film). Watchable at first but hardly enjoyable, the horror movie vehicle runs out of gas quicker than a vehicle in a horror movie. There is one good moment in the entire film and it comes about 10 minutes into the film (Check out now!). Unlike the Tobe Hooper's 1974 version, Marcus Nispel's redo lacks any suspense or tension, has no shocking moments or disturbing scenarios and adds nothing to top the original, just tweaking and updating in the lamest fashion it can. Now, this was the first and poorest example in a wave of lazy cash-grab horror remakes such as The Hills Have Eyes, The Evil Dead and Poltergeist. But its so much worse than those it inspired. Calling it "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" doesn't hide the fact that its a bad, bad entry in a once-great slasher franchise. Maybe I could respect it if it was made as what its trying not to be, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 5".
TCM2003 hurts itself the most by avoiding scares, instead going for grossing you out, finding cheap jump moments and using "artful" gore. Its big and expensive obviously, which works against it. It looks like a music video and the "so grungy, its hip" philosophy distracts from any mood setting that could be taking place. The editing is sloppy and action-oriented instead of horror-oriented. The script is horrendous with cartoon characters doing stupid things endlessly. The film swears that its funny and inside the mind of realistic lunatics, but its totally insulting the IQ of most audience members. The actors are really uninspired, preening and posing but refusing to truly act. You've gotta blame the flat direction for most of that sorry aspect. Its one of those horror films aimed at people who probably watch the worst horror movies that come to their multiplex and love it. I mean, obviously thats what happened because the film made millions upon millions of dollars. I will applaud the very original and spooky art design by Scott Gallagher who adds lots of grime and authenticity to Greg Blair's vast over-stylized production. The package is tied up neatly by the late, great Daniel Pearl's beautiful cinematography. Pearl was the D.P. on the original "Massacre" (it was his breakout work) and probably took the job so at least some of the spirit carried over, in tribute to his original work. This is one of the special films where the 2nd unit director (by veteran A.D. Randy Fletcher) is better than the director.
Marcus Nispel is a hack director, one of Michael Bay's stooges and Bay's touch is what rots every frame of this turd. But like Bay, Nispel is smart enough to know that the KNB effects, cinematography and production design were the real stars. Nispel cares nothing about acting, directing, camerawork, anything technical or artistic. He's simply doing a cynical lazy job for a huge payday. In the end it becomes more than a weak shell of a classic. It becomes a spoof highlighting everything honest and great about its source material. If you can make it past the lame 1st act, the ugly and poorly structured 2nd act and most of the absolutely lifeless 3rd act, you're rewarded with a comical anticlimax and a slap in your face by Bay and pals. Ka-ching.