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3.8 out of 5 stars
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) [Blu-ray]
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2004
Just when you thought the original was disturbing, gross, disgusting, and frightening, now comes the updated version, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," which knows no limits when it comes to gore and intensely terrifying moments. Is it a remake? Not necessarily. However, it is more like a movie that pays tribute to a great classic by offering its own vision of a well-known nightmare of limbs and guts.
While characters and some of the story has changed, the deranged and murderous plot remains the same. An unspeakable turn of events (I will not give away how it all starts, as it is very different from the original) lands a group of teens in a nightmarish maze that throws a mutilated man who wields a giant chainsaw in their path. Not to mention the "crazy" family that turns out to be just as vicious and murderous. For these teens, a safe place is nowhere in their short and painful future.
As I said in the beginning, this is not a remake. Nor is this a sequel. So what is it? Well, I like to think of it as an "updated" version of the original--in fact, I consider it more of a tribute to the classic that redefined the horror genera as we know it. This movie, while much more darker, sinister, and sicker, is not trying to live up to the original, nor is it trying to outdo it. I had to smile, as this was not a step-by-step remake, such as the newer "Psycho" was. There are new elements, characters, and plot twists thrown into the mix. And to be honest... it works.
I must confess, I had an unquestionably hard time trying to watch this movie. There were a bunch of moments that made me want to shut it off, and yet--I continued to watch the debauchery. There is a sick and twisted fascination that this movie exploits from us, knowing that we're going continue to watch no matter what. The original was choppy and had a very low-budget, so while it was undeniably violent and brutal it wasn't as hard to take. This new version is in no way a Grade-B movie. It's extremely realistic in its absolute brutality. This shouldn't even be considered as a choice for people who have a hard time watching violence, gore and torture. This movie takes it to the limit and is unapologetic.
Even though this was a hard movie to watch, I have to confess that I liked it. It is great to finally see a horror movie that isn't overly goofy. This is a straight-up and serious slasher movie that does what it's supposed to do--TERRIFY US. An element sadly forgotten by most of the horror flops that come out now. Maybe they can take a page from this movie and perhaps learn something. The acting is surprisingly good, the script is quite believable and is rarely cheesy or lame, and the film looks fantastic. Not a bad job for director Marcus Nispel.
This 2-Disc special edition (a single disc version is also available for those who aren't giant fans of the movie) has some tasty extras. As I said, the film looks and sounds great. You even have the choice of watching it in DTS if your little heart desires to do so. Special features include documentaries, deleted scenes, commentary, trailers, TV spots and a whole lot more. The star of the special features is an exclusive documentary on the notorious killer, Ed Gein, who inspired the original film. It's a really interesting feature and is the main reason to purchase this edition of the movie. The behind-the-scenes documentary (over an hour long) is also worth the money, as well.
"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is an unforgiving bloodbath that sends you to the butcher's with bloody front-row seats. It's not better than the original, and it is not trying to be. This film is more of a tribute to an undeniable classic. It's an entertaining new vision and interpretation of the original. If you're looking for a straight-up horror movie that isn't trying to be cutesy or is striving for pop status, then this is the one for you. Just remember one thing... once you open the door, there's no going back. A disturbing, and yet involving horror film that will stay in your head for days. -Michael Crane
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
I had to wonder, initially, why anyone would go through the trouble of remaking a "classic" that already had numerous sequels to begin with. I came into it with "low expectations," in other words. But I must say that after watching it a couple times, I'm not disappointed with the effort.

The only reason for knocking it down to 4 stars is the clumsy framing device. It strives for the same sort of verisimilitude that the original had. Grainy archive footage of some State Investigators going down into the basement of the house of notoriety, filming the grisly scene. It's obviously not original stock footage, but just some attempted levity on the part of the filmmakers. It doesn't work. Yes, we all know that the original film was based on a true story, at least loosely. The actual dude who was the mass killer lived in Wisconsin, not Texas, but that's beside the point.

What this remake does deliver on is "fear factor" moments. The actors portraying the crazies really do sell their insanity, particularly in the "trailer trash" scene. The over the top Sherrif (fans of Full Metal Jacket will recognize Mr Psycho Drill Sargeant) is also very effective. If you have a good sound system hooked up to your DVD player, the soundtrack and sound effects alone will put you into mild seizure. That's something the original Hooper DVD can't deliver. Chainsaw noises will haunt your consciousness for at least a day or two!

I also like the way the production team depicted the Chainsaw guy. The quick cuts never give us a clear picture of the face. He's quicker than the original Leatherface. Moves like a cat. He's also not depicted as a totally brain dead avenger of Satan. Just a boy who had problems adjusting in grade school, I guess. "Vengence is Mine," sayeth the Leathered One!

BEK
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Well, this 2003 remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" creeped me out. Of course I waited until late at night to watch it, which is what you were supposed to do with a horror movie, because lately even when a horror film has a good start, such as "Jeepers Creepers," they almost always end up being laughable. Now, I will not go so far as to say this is a great horror film, and I am not suggesting that it replace the raw power of Tobe Hooper's original in any one's mind, but it sure creeped me out more than anything I have seen in a while (except for last month when I watched "The Exorcist" again).

What does this remake have working in its favor? Well, first the film is selective in what it takes from the original. We have the same beginning with the grainy film and the same narration talking about "one of the most bizarre crimes in the annals of American history" (again narrated by a now considerably more famous John Larroquette), and we have the same basic idea that a group of teenagers in 1973 make the mistake of running into Leatherface and his kin. But in terms of the specifics the screenplay by Scott Kosar does not treat the original like gospel: the hook is still there, but we lose the bizarre dinner scene where the original really lost me.

I was also surprised to see that cinematographer Daniel Pearl is back to show what he has learned since 1974, which is apparently a note. Maybe the music video sensibilities of director Marcus Nispel have something to do with this at well, but this horror film looks the way that horror films are supposed to look. You know that things are going well when you are getting the wiggins and the sun has not yet set in the film. There are plenty of bad things to see in this film, but the camera does not wallow on them the way so many splatter flicks do.

Maybe part of the effectiveness of this remake is that for those of us who watched the original we know the basics of what is going to happen so that there is a sense of anticipation that no matter what is happening on screen something really bad is about to happen. But if I were going to point to something else beyond the cinematography it would be the fact that this time Leatherface (Andrew Bryniarski) is not the really scary one. No, the honor goes to R. Lee Ermey who brings his drill sergeant from hell to the character of Sheriff Hoyt. Even before Leatherface shows up these teenagers are in way over their heads.

Ripe for the slaughter are good girl Erin (Jessica Biel), her boy friend Kemper (Eric Balfour), young stud Andy (Mike Vogel), the friendly hitchhiker Pepper (Erica Leerhsen), and for comic relief stoner Morgan (Jonathan Tucker). They are driving through Texas to get to a concert when they almost run over a disoriented and frightened girl walking along the road. They try to help, but she is beyond help and so, as she plainly tells them, are they.

Biel, still trying to put her good girl image from "7th Heaven" behind her, manages to play a scream queen without going off the deep end like she did in "Gear" (even in a freezing meat locker). Often these films come down to the good girl character trying to survive the maniac with their weapon of choice and in that regard Biel is one of the better to come along. Yeah, she is smart and sexy, but for once when she gets to the part where she has to fight back you actually believe she might pull it off.

This is a grim and relentless film that assaults its audience as much as it does its characters. After so many horror films that fail on that score perhaps the biggest shock is any film could get this far doing what it is supposed to be doing and if you come here expecting a cathartic ending abandon hope on that score right now. Also, when you decide to watch it late at night, remember not to turn all the light out.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2004
I rented this movie the other night with that kind of lackluster knowlegde that is put into renting the usual cheese filled horror movies that have been mass produced since I Know What You Did Last Summer and all of those other crap movies. I popped this bad boy in and was shocked to find myself nervously biting my nails and unusually squeamish through most of the film. I am a big horror fan and although I am not an expert on them I do think I have seen enough of them to know what is good and what isn't...and this was the first movie to ACTUALLY freak me out in a long time. This movie is literally disturbingly graphic! The blood and gore is intense, although not as tremendously over the top as some zombie flicks such as Braindead or Day of the dead. This is truly a dark horror film. The cheery opening sequence, which introduces us to 5 young adults on there way to a Lynard Skinnard Concert is excruciatingly short and really is meant to just BARELY give us hints of the characters personalities. We instantly know that Jessica Biel (Erin) is the good girl(although she seems to have been a bad girl in her past) with the higher morals than her fellow pot heads, and that her boyfriend Kemper, played by Eric Balfour(Six feet under, Kids Incorporated)loves her and the two seem to want to get married. The other travelers are the irritatingly cowardous Morgan, who is played by Jonathan Tucker and newly introduced couple Pepper and Andy-who seem to love groping eachother after just having met. Although any viewer of horror films will surely know that only ONE of these kids will survive, the movie serves up enough jolting scares and heart pounding moments to satisfy any viewer looking for a good dose of film terror.
I loved this movie in a weird way. It left me thinking about it for days. I would just randomely catch myself remebering how eerily disturbing it was. The cinematograpy is great too. Although, I am taking a star off for some unnecessary cheese moments like Jessica Biels Bra-less soaked tank top (Although most guys will appreciate it), slight confusion on bits of the hillbilly plot lines, and a couple corny lovey-dovey lines in the very beginning of the movie. This movie was a great horror film. It was the first movie in a long time to actually disturb me and have me thinking about it long after I finished it. I appreciated this movie for what it is...a stylishly cinematic slasher flick that is highly underrated. The people who hate this movie seem to be fans of the original, and of course, no one EVER likes a remade version of an original better...so, of course they would seem biased or harsh about it. This movie is creepy and gut wrenchingly scary! If you want to experience a truly ominous and horrifying film than you should definetly rent or buy this movie ASAP!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2004
I mean REALLY. These days, there aren't a whole lot of movies that impress me. I loved this one. I have pondered many things concerning the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and now I have an answer.
The people who voice their opinions on this movie can probably be classified into two groups: Those who love it and those who hate it. Since there aren't a whole lot of people who tout the "meh, it was okay" view, I think we can safely assume that bad or good, this movie is definately a benchmark in movie history. Just like everyone else in the world, my opinion is not without bias, but I'm confident that the assertion I'm about to make is solid and reasonable:
This movie is unbelievable. It's almost an insult to call this a "remake" of the original TCM, because it is incredibly innovative. It's a different story, different cast, and a different kind of drive than that of the first. It's more raw, more terrifying, and it never lets up throughout the entire film.
First things first: Jessica Biel. I don't care what other projects she's participated in before. She did an amazing job in this film. Let me take that a step further and say that EVERYone in this movie put forth a wonderful effort. The acting is natural and realistic; these actors make you believe that this really did and could happen. From what I know, there was a deep concern that the movie would be nothing more than a showcase of Jessica's clevage. But this is not the case. Although she is definitely an attractive woman, I'm afraid your mind won't be able to concentrate on the curves. She plays a character who quickly figures out exactly how much trouble she and her friends are in, and she forces herself and her companions to face this horror and survive. Jessica Biel's character is the "silent leader" in this movie, and her performance is astounding.
Then there's LeatherFace. Let the record show that I have been an original TCM fan for quite some time. It was an amazing, innovative movie, and it was a blast to watch over and over again. But let's not kid ourselves. Leatherface, while tall and creepy (especially with the mask of skin), had a sort of dumb air around him. He made funny sounds and was clumsy to the point that he was actually humorous. This LeatherFace is nowhere to be found in the new movie. In his place is a ruthless, cunning, and INCREDIBLY fast LeatherFace. One of the things about the first TCM that slightly dulled the fear element is that LeatherFace never really ran. He jogged. This new LeatherFace SPRINTS. These poor kids run from him screaming at the top of their lungs because they know that he IS going to catch them. They scream and cry because there truly is no hope for them. I remember screaming in that movie because a particular foot chase scene would lead you to believe that a victim was starting to slightly get ahead of LeatherFace... And then cut back behind the poor fellow to reveal the gruesome truth, that he was delivering the fatal stroke.
Conclusion: Please don't listen to the whining nastolgics who have made themselves believe that if a movie is made in modern times that it can't possibly be worth seeing. Please don't listen to people who have constructed entire websites for the sole purpose of thrashing this remake and idolizing the original. And PLEASE... Don't listen to the people who gave this movie one star-not because they saw it and hated it, but because they made themselves hate it from the moment it was conceived.
By the way, most people who hate this movie are die-hard worshippers of the infamous "Dawn Of The Living Dead."
(Snickers)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2008
I dont see how people dont like this movie.it has everything a good horror movie needs.scary monsters,great pacing,good actors,blood and gore...what more could a horror fan want?and the performance by R.Lee Emery is worth watching this movie alone for.the whole movie is great as a whole.ive seen part of the original but turned it off as i found it to be somewhat boring.i hear it has very little blood and guts and i huge fan of gore.i did see TCM 2 though and i just dont like the way the old leather face was portrayed as a character...his nickname is bubba for gods sake.this one has lots of good,fear inducing moments that no horror fan should miss.deffinate buy,you WONT regret it.
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26 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Having seen the 1974 original, I looked forward to seeing this re-make. The original had a quasi-documentary feel to it with its grainy footage and cast of virtual unknowns. The film was a visual cornucopia of terror and horror, though there was actually very little gore shown on screen. The unusually macabre sets and the relentless sound of the chainsaw bandied by Leatherface were enough to make the viewer tremble.
This re-make has stuck relatively close to the original in terms of a general story line, though there are, of course, some differences. In the re-make, a group of teens set off in their van on their way to a concert in Texas, where they end up in a rural area. After picking up a dazed, female hitchhiker, their world is turned upside down when she does the unspeakable.
They go looking for help and, unfortunately, come across a house inhabited by one heck of a family of crazies. From the moment they do so, the teens run hither and dither, as they are chased by a chainsaw wielding, leather faced maniac. Unlike the original, this film is a real slasher type horror film with plenty of blood and gore. This is the real difference between the original and the re-make.
While the re-make has much better production values than the original, as well as better acting by its cast, the original was far scarier. The director of the original, Tobe Hooper, did far more with far less. Still, if you are a fan of bloody slasher films, this is worth a rental. Better yet, rent both the original 1974 version, as well as this re-make, and then judge for yourself as to which is the superior horror flick.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I watched the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" back when I was in college and again when this remake was released in the theaters. I enjoyed it very much, with its camp horror and constant terror throughout. It was a very good film, but it's young remake is also up to the task.

Though most people who've watched the original will probably find more wrong with this film than folks who didn't(think old Star Wars vs. new Star Wars), this new version is actually pretty good. It has a likeable young cast who do very good jobs with their roles. Leatherface, Granny, and the rest of the cannibalistic family are fun to watch as well. Their interactions with each other are morbidly engaging. R. Lee Ermey is hysterical as the sheriff.

The film is very tense, especially when Jessica Biel realizes that her friends are being murdered and she attempts to save the few that remain. At one point, Ermey's character takes a sick and twisted turn in one of the most tense-filled scenes in the film. He forces one of Biel's friends to "help" him in the investigation of a suicide by re-enacting it. Biel does a lot of running and screaming, but it is all very believable and done with good cause(obviously, I'd run too if Leatherface was chasing me). Also, the camera manages to find Biel's bosom and midriff quite often, especially in close-ups. We see her running with a dry, tight shirt, a wet shirt(white nonetheless), and a blood-soaked shirt. It's obvious why we see her in this way, but I'm sure most of the gents in the crowd won't be offended.

Overall, I was surprised at how good this film actually was. I was actually a little tired after the constant, relentless chase scenes in the flick, which means I was really captivated by the action on the screen. It managed to haul me in and keep me interested until the credits rolled.

In closing, I highly recommend this remake of a classic. I do suggest you watch both of them if you haven't, but keep in mind that the original will always be tough to beat. Give this remake a little breathing room, and you'll quickly find that it is one of the better horror flicks in recent years.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2004
TO ALL YOU PEOPLE OUT THERE KNOCKEN THIS FLICK ,ALL YOUR LETTING ME KNOW IS THAT YOUR NOT TRUE "T.C.M" FANS OR REAL HORROR FANS!!!!!!!!!!!because if you were you would realize that this is not only the best addition to the "T.C.M" collection since the original its also a great horror movie on its own!!if you don't like this movie then your the kind of person that thought "I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER" was actually a scary movie!!!GET REAL!!!!to the true "T.C.M" fans the double disc set is awsome its everything a dvd collector is looking for,you will see what i mean when you get it!!the best part of the extra feature's is a little documentary on ED GEIN called "the ghoul of plainfeild" now this is for all the little kiddys that believe that there was a real leatherface running around with a chainsaw killing anyone who crossed his path!?!?WRONG!!!HA!HA!HA! here you learn the real truth! here you learn that the truth can acually be more crazier scarier& darker then the movie!!!!!!! THE ORIGINAL TEAXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE IN MY EYE'S IS BY FAR THE BEST HORROR MOVIE EVER MADE!! NOT BECAUSE OF GREAT ACTING/PICTURE QUALITY/ALOT OF BLOOD/OR SPECIAL EFFECTS BECAUSE THE BOTTOM LINE IS WITH THE EXCEPTION'S OF THE GREAT!!!MARILYN BURNS&GUNNER HANSON THE MOVIE CONTAINED NONE OF THE ABOVE.WHAT MAKES IT THE BEST!! IS ALL OF THOSE FLAWS MIXED IN WITH NEW YOUNG GREAT DIRECTING(tobe hooper) GIVES IT A DOCUMENTARY FEEL AND IN MY OPINION THERE IS NOTHING MORE SCARY THAN A REALISTIC SITUATION!!!!!back to "T.C.M"2003 with the exceptions of the picture quality& the soundtrack it pays great respect to the original!!! so hurry up and get this awsome horror movie they don't make as good as this these days!!!!BUT LIKE I SAID, BEST SINCE THE ORIGINAL!!!!!!!BUT NOT A REMAKE!!!!ITS A GOOD HORROR MOVIE ON ITS OWN!!!!!!!!!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Review no. 509. Decent remake of the classic 1974 horror flick that so many of us remember seeing at the drive-in way back when. A group of teens happen to stumble across a small town where a bunch of circus sideshow freak rejects (from the 110th level of hell) begin pursuing and horrify them, who turn out to be blood thirsty cannibals. Included in the gang is sexy good girl, Erin Hardesty (Jessica Biel). Some really sickening scenes in this movie include decaying pig carcasses, crucified dummy dolls and severed body parts in a mason jar. Two most memorable scenes: when redneck Sheriff Hoyt (R. Lee Ermey) tricks one of the teen dudes into shooting him with an empty gun and second, when Biel looks for help and stumbles across a trailer-trash home with a demented woman and her freak daughter, with a kidnapped child inside. Ugh! Certainly hope that rather large woman is the result of a good make-up job. After seeing this flick, I may never want to visit a strange resident in the boonies again. Like I said, it's a decent remake. Check it out. Think twice about eating when you watch this DVD.
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