Director: Marcus Nispel
Starring: Jessica Biel, Jonathan Tucker, Erica Leerhsen, Mike Vogel, Eric Balfour
Inspired by a true story
A young group of friends are using their summer to travel down to Texas to attend a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert. On their way they pick up a disturbed hitchhiker that suddenly takes out a gun and shots herself in the head.
They head over to the nearest town to try to find help. On their hunt to find the local authorities they end up at a plantation home where they come become the target of a demented and cannibalistic redneck family that always welcome new fresh meat.
So, apparently in the early 2000’s none other than Michael Bay decided that there was a need for a new production company that should specialize in horror movies. The company was called Platinum Dunes and ten years later it can be called a big success… financially. The company is mostly known for remaking loved horror films of the past, a trend that wasn’t exactly welcomed by the majority of the so-called “hardcore” horror fans.
The remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was the first one. I guess that the decision to update the story for a modern audience isn’t the worst idea in the world, it is a hell of a lot better than the idea of remaking Nightmare on Elm Street (which Platinum Dunes was responsible of doing a few years later).
While the original had a very brutal tone, but little blood and guts, this one relies on showing the atrocities that Leatherface and the family puts the youngsters through. It is made during the phase that will be remembered as the “torture porn” era and it shows by the gore that are displayed. Gore don’t make a movie though and the violence isn’t enough to save this film from being poor.
Instead of playing on terror, there are plenty of cheap jump scares here to satisfy the “MTV generation”. It feels like a very lifeless movie that looks like it had a good budget behind it, but not the heart and effort that made the original what it was and still is today. The Leatherface character in this one won’t shock anybody and the entire family can’t hold a candle to the original one.
Although it is a valid argument that the young group from the original film didn’t get that much character development either, it was still impossible not to feel for Sally as we could see how tormented she became. Recognizing how important it is to have a likeable final girl, they hired the lovely Jessica Biel for the part of Erin in the remake.
Biel is great to look at, but she has nothing to work with here. The filmmakers seem more focused on showing off her body than actually build her character and that’s a shame as this is the leading character of the movie and the character is important for the audience to get attached to the story. The rest of the cast is mostly just there to be killed off, one by one. I didn’t care that much for R. Lee Ermey as the sheriff either and none of the family members made a lasting impression at all.
The 2003 version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a film made for the popcorn horror crowd of its time with popular bands on the soundtrack and more focus on jump scares and gore than tension. It was a big success at the box office and did put some new life into the franchise, but as a movie it was a failure. There’s nothing memorable about it at all and at best it is a decent time waster.