***SPOILERS AHEAD!*** The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) *** After wanting to see the remake of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE for a while, I was disappointed, at least in some aspects of the film. Before we get to that, though, I liked the little nods to the original (although there are fewer than in, say, the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake), such as the famous music cues in the beginning of the film and John Larroquette reprising his narration from the original. However, the scares in this remake aren’t nearly as relentless as they were before. The chase sequence was shortened quite a bit, and the remake doesn’t have the overall graininess that the first film had to give it that raw edge it needed to be successful. I also thought that the “real” footage at the beginning of this film was quite lame and didn’t work at all, with it’s obviously fake scratch marks and grain. It gave the film a cheap feel, in my opinion, and it would have been better without it. I just didn’t like how they tried to trick the audience into believing it was a true story- sure, the original did this, but it wasn’t marketed as much as the newer version. It almost seemed like if they hadn’t said it was a true story, it wouldn’t have been as successful at the box office. There are times where this feels like a cheap, watered-down version of the Tobe Hooper classic. There’s more gore than there was before, but that doesn’t really make it a better movie. The original didn’t need to resort to graphic violence to achieve its scares- all it needed was a heavy atmosphere and an emphasis on intensity. There are plenty of powerful sequences in the remake, but they aren’t carried out as creatively, such as the aforementioned chase scenes and hook sequences (which were really overdone here). There were some nice plot twists (which I won’t reveal here as to not spoil the movie for others who still haven’t seen it), but just not enough originality for my tastes. We’ve all seen this before in other films (which in turn might have ripped-off other films), and done more entertainingly as well. I also didn’t like the fact that they had to resort to showing Leatherface with his mask off and even revealing his real name. Once again, it cheapens the result and makes it even less daunting; part of the reason why the original was so creepy was because we hardly knew anything about him and he was somewhat of a mystery. Who’s afraid of someone named Thomas Hewitt? The direction is nice and director Marcus Nispel makes good use of locations to create a moody and unsettling ambiance. For instance, the moment where the hitchhiker shoots herself is done brilliantly, as one particular shot is from the point of view of the gun wound. Again, it’s a very gory moment and one wonders how this ever got past the MPAA. Also, check out the scenes near the beginning while the kids are driving along in the van- all of that is skillfully photographed, in my opinion. Despite the fact that there is a lack of innovation permeating this thing, there are quite a few tense sequences as well, such as when Erin is trapped inside the meat factory with Leatherface. The character of Erin is much stronger than the Sally character from the original, because she doesn’t hesitate to defend herself most of the time, but we don’t really care for her quite as much because of that. But I would go so far as to say that Jessica Biel is comparable to Marilyn Burns. The rest of the cast is so-so, but mostly forgettable because the characters aren’t really developed. The same could be said about the original’s cast, too. However, R. Lee Ermy is a standout because of his delirious role as Sheriff Hoyt, who just happens to be part of the killer “family”. If you have even the slightest interest in this, I’d say check it out. Audiences were pretty divided with this film; some liked it and some didn’t. I enjoyed it, but it’s still not quite as good as the original. Then again, some think it’s superior to the original. The only thing I can think of about this film that I liked better was that the beginning wasn’t boring like it was in the original. At least the writer tried to make it exciting by having something actually happen. Other than that though, I feel that the original film is superior to this film in almost every way.