The Texas Chainsaw Massacre family of movies is a mess from a story perspective. The series was rebooted by Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes in 2003. While I'm a big fan of the reboot, the series was then rebooted with 2013's Texas Chainsaw 3D. Several key aspects of the characters from the Chainsaw franchise has been changed again...but for the better?
Texas Chainsaw 3D is actually a sequel to the original 1974 movie, basically ignoring the original TCM sequels. The beginning of the movie opens up with the local sheriff at the home of the Sawyers asking them to turn over none other than Leatherface himself. Sally Hardesty escapes Leatherface in the original movie and obviously alerts the local authorities...hence the sheriff being at the home to make the arrest. Just then many of the townsfolk of Newt, Texas show up ready to lynch the whole family. It doesn't take long before chaos ensues, gunfire is traded and the Sawyer home is burned to the ground. It is believed that the entire Sawyer clan died in the fire, but one of the locals finds Loretta Sawyer, and her child, Edith Rose Sawyer. The mother is killed and the baby is taken and raised as their own.
Fast forward years later and Edith Rose Sawyer (played by Alexandra Daddario) is now all grown up and goes by the name Heather that her adopted family gives her. She receives a letter in the mail from her late grandmother, Verna Carson. She was not privy to knowing she was adopted. She learns not only of her being adopted, but of the inheritance she was left in Newt, Texas. She packs up the van with her boyfriend Ryan (played by Trey Songz), best friend Nikki (Tania Raymonde) and her boyfriend and hit the road.
During this trip they come across a hitchhiker. Like in the original and the 2003 reboot, they pick up the hitchhiker and take them with them. The inheritance turns out to be Verna's home. It appears to be a an elaborate older home and oddly untouched after all of these years. There are sheets over some of the furniture, but the house seems to be very clean for a house that has sat empty for that long.
Up until this point the movie was pretty boring, but as they leave the hitchhiker alone in the house as they go into town for supplies (who does that? leave a stranger in their new home alone?) the action starts to pick up. The hitchhiker eventually finds Leatherface in the basement (or does Leatherface find him?) and from here on out it's on.
It takes awhile for Heather to find out that her relatives are crazy murderers, but eventually finds out through old police files while she seeks refuge from being chased by Leatherface. This is the turn in the story that myself and a lot of fans didn't care for. The sheriff kidnaps Heather and takes her to the local slaughter house to lure out Leatherface. He intends on killing the last of the Sawyers, but as Leatherface spices a family tattoo on her chest, he lets her go. Heather now basically goes over to the dark side herself and fights alongside her cousin. Yeah, I didn't see that coming either.
In the letter from her grandmother, Verna tells Heather/Edith that as long as she takes care of Leatherface, he'll take care of her. It seems that Edith has finally found the family she's been longing for and decides to take up residence in the house.
There are a lot of things I don't like about this movie, yet I still find it more fascinating than Tobe Hooper's 1986 sequel. The 3D effects are just a part of the time the movie was released and not necessary. The sudden attitude change you see the main character, Heather/Edith take when she is released by Leatherface is crazy. Most of the movie she is being chased by this maniac and now all the sudden she wants to fight along side him? Despite the sudden fork in the road the movie takes, its still a fun watch. I thought Alexandra's performance was pretty good, yet I'm not too sure how I feel anout Dan Yeager's Leatherface. He'd have to be well in his 60's during this movie, yet he's more mobile than you think he could be.
Mariluyn Burns (Sally Hardesty) and Gunnar Hanson (Leatherface) from the original 1974 movie, both have small roles. Sally plays Verna and Gunnar plays a new Saywer family member, Boss Sawyer.
Texas Chainsaw 3D isn't great, but it's not as bad as some of the fans and critics make it out to be. I believe it was planned to make another movie exploring more about Heather / Edith and Leatherface, but ultimately that never came to fruition. A prequel to the original 1974 movie, Leatherface, was released earlier this year (2017), but at the time of this post I've yet to watch it.