The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Remakes. Remakes are probably one of the things, if not main the thing, I hate the most about the horror genre. They take iconic, classic films and update them with ‘trendy’ characters, shitty music, and worst of all, CGI effects that all but neuter the original. Usually perfect for the younger crowd that while in theatres might yell at the screen annoyingly while playing on their phones at the same time. However, if there is one remake that comes close to matching the zaniness and terror of the original, it’s the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. This was a film that was actually produced by Michael Bay and say what you will about him, he knows how to create entertaining films. While the film follows the relatively same beats as the original (Leatherface’s music-less first appearance, the meathook), where it shines is the casting, atmosphere, and most of all tone. The farmhouse gives you the sense of the dread and dirtiness that surrounds the whole area. The characters actually are likable and don’t have the stereotypical over-the-top clichés that plague other remakes (the dumb blonde, stoner, macho boyfriend). They are subtle in their personalities which is proof that less really is more. And we can’t forget about casting without bringing up the genius that is R. Lee Ermey. If the man wasn’t born for his role in Full Metal Jacket, he would be born to play a shady sheriff in this movie. Scenery chewing to the extreme but in a great effective way. However, the smartest thing this movie does? Plays it straight. No stupid jokes by the characters, no dumbing down to make the tone more light/funny. The movie plays it serious the whole way and is rewarded for it. When the inevitable blood and guts (and chainsaws) start flying, we don’t get stupid wisecracks or taunting by the characters. We get full on screams, terror and grittiness. That is the only way a remake of the iconic original would work. And surprisingly, they pulled it off. Check it out.
SLASH SCALE: 5/5