OK, first off I have an admission to make - my memories of Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre are of it being plain silly and not at all frightening. I'm pleased I've got that off my chest - die hard fans of the 1974 original please forgive me.
On to the 2003 version and for those of you, few as you may be, that are unfamiliar with the plot: things start off just rosy with five youngsters on their way to a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert. Driving along a deserted open road, a near accident with a lone and obviously distressed young woman sees the youngsters stop and offer assistance. So begins their nightmare.
Why, oh why did they have to stop in that town? And why are the inhabitants there so weird? For strange they undoubtedly are - making the townsfolk in Deliverance seem like middle classed yuppies!
I found this new version disturbing in the extreme. There are a number of “jump-out-of-your-seat” moments - I very nearly involuntarily hurled a bowl of Shreddies across the living room floor at one point. I don't know about you, but when I was a boy I used to have a recurring dream of somebody chasing me, and I just knew I had to get away or I was in deep, deep trouble. And when old Leatherface appears... man, did it bring back those dream memories. It would have been all too easy to have the chainsaw-wielding maniac chasing everybody in sight for an hour and a half, but thankfully producer Michael Bay and director Marcus Nispel got the balance of creepiness and all out “run-for-your-life” desperation just about right, with Mr. Leatherface being let loose just enough to keep you on tenterhooks, without overpowering the storyline.
This new DVD release of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, complete with collectable digipack case, removable metal faceplate and crime scene photo cards, is a bloody and frightening way to spend an hour and a half of your movie-watching life. And I loved every minute of it.
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