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‘Texas Chainsaw 3D’ loving homage to 1974 original

‘TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D’

DIRECTOR: John Luessenhop

STARS: Alexandra Daddario, Tania Raymonde and Scott Eastwood

GENRE: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

RATED: R for strong grisly violence and language throughout

RUNNING TIME: 1 hour and
32 minutes

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Updated: February 12, 2013 2:06PM



Watching “Texas Chainsaw 3D,” the latest screen incarnation of the iconic chain saw-wielding maniac Leatherface, the mind fairly reels.

This purported direct sequel to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 horror classic cheerfully ignores that director’s own 1986 follow-up, the 2003 remake, the 2006 prequel and even the film’s basic time line.

“Texas Chainsaw 3D” scores points for sheer brazenness.

But aside from its being an obviously loving homage to the original — even including 3-D-enhanced clips from “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” in the opening credits — there isn’t much to recommend this installment.

The main point of the new film’s originality is omitting the word “Massacre” from the title.

The opening sequence takes place directly after the final scene of Hooper’s film, depicting a Waco-like encounter in which the house containing Leatherface and his cannibalistic family burns to the ground with all its occupants presumably dead.

That is except for a baby, who is promptly adopted and, as we soon see, grows up in Oklahoma to be the beautiful Heather Miller (Alexandra Daddario).

Cut to roughly 20 years later, when Heather learns of her origins after being left a Texas mansion by her late grandmother.

Heather and her friends promptly head off in a van to check out her inheritance which, unbeknownst to them, is still the home of the hulking Leatherface (Dan Yeager).

The film’s first half follows conventional horror movie tropes as the heroine and her hottie companions — boyfriend Ryan (rapper Tremaine “Trey Songz” Neverson), best friend Nikki (Tania Raymonde), her new crush Kenny (Keram Malicki-Sanchez) and a hunky hitchhiker (Scott Eastwood) — are pursued by the chain saw-wielding inhabitant with predictably lethal results.

But that’s not before all of them bare as much skin as possible.

Things take a somewhat more complex turn later on when Heather finds herself in an unlikely alliance with her deranged relative against the town’s corrupt mayor (Paul Rae) and his minions.

Leatherface is even given a rather sympathetic treatment, depicted as being something of a misunderstood, overgrown child whose propensity for tearing off his victims’ faces is but an extreme example of adolescent rebellion.

That the film obviously takes place in the present day — a key sequence involves a camera phone — is something of a puzzler since that would make Heather nearly 40 years old.

That is something that the tightly toned, midriff-baring Daddario is clearly not. But hey, what’s a couple of decades more or less?

Director John Luessenhop (“Takers”) takes advantage of the 3-D by shoving blood spurts and the occasional chain saw directly into viewers’ faces, but otherwise it has little impact other than to goose the box office with those hefty surcharges.

Unlike the restrained 1974 film that cleverly relied mainly on suggestion, this version piles on the graphic, often computer-generated imagery-enhanced gore.

Devoted fans of the original will be gratified by the cameos from several of that film’s cast members including original Leatherface Gunnar Hansen, although the cameos are mostly of the blink and you’ll miss them variety.

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