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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
2003 - R - 90 Mins.
Director: Marcus Nispel
Producer: Michael Bay, Jeff Allard, Matthew Cohan
Written By: Scott Kosar
Starring: Jessica Biel, Jonathan Tucker, Mike Vogel, Erica Leerhsen, R. Lee Ermey
Review by: Joe Rickey
A group of teens traveling through the countryside to a concert with a piñata full of pot come across a young girl walking alongside the road; incoherent and bleeding. She quickly shoots herself and terrifying the teens in the process. It is not long before the teens come across a house, which is home to horrors more terrifying than anything they have ever seen before. They find themselves being chased by a monstrous being wielding a chainsaw known only as Leatherface. Newcomer Marcus Nispel directs this remake of the Tobe Hooper classic and Jessica Biel and R. Lee Ermey star.

Marcus Nispel’s vision of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre defines the word unsettling. From the depressingly tinged production design replete with half-ripped porcelain dolls and various sharp instruments hanging from the ceiling. Not to mention a meat freezer that is oozing with atmosphere. The director successfully recreates the feeling of dread that permeated Tobe Hooper’s classic from the 1970’s. From the opening scene of the girl killing herself to the eerie last shot, the film is so unsettling to the point of being difficult to watch at times. Nispel knows what makes for a good horror film and uses his knowledge to create his ideal horror film.

Nispel smartly moves the film along at a fast clip. That’s not so say that we don’t get to know the characters that will be soon be running from the chainsaw wielding maniac. The film is able to get a lot of character development into a short amount of time as we quickly learn about the characters and their relationships to one another. As a result, we really care about what happens to them and cringe even more when certain characters end up being brutally tortured by Leatherface. It is important to note that during such disturbing sequences that the film does anything but shy away from what is being done. The full extent of what is done to the protagonists is felt and rather horrifying to behold.

There is one long chase sequence towards the end of the film. This chase sequence is incredibly thrilling and suspenseful. The cinematography during it captures the perfect angles to intensify what is occurring on the screen. It is notable to say that the protagonist being chased actually defies conventions of the horror genre because the protagonist acts in a smart way instead of doing all the wrong things. These actions make it all the more refreshing to view because one gets tired of watching films that stick to the tried and true instead of daring to be different.

The actors all do their part to make the film a success. As the lead, Jessica Biel (Summer Catch, The Rules of Attraction) shows surprising range as she comes across as likable and smarter than your average horror movie bimbo. Her group of friends also does quite well with what they are given but aren’t blessed with as many high quality scenes as Biel. As the town sheriff, R. Lee Ermey is spectacularly threatening and ominous in the type of role that he has perfected over time.

Overall, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a truly terrifying film that is easily the best horror film of the year thus far.

Movie Guru Rating
An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant. An important film.  A substantive artistic achievement.  Resonant.
  4.5 out of 5 stars

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