Nostalgia has been a powerful force for quite some time now. From fond memories of a past that never existed to the esteemed regard of classic characters. The dollar value in bringing back these recognisable elements in a new context will always be there, whether in the 2020s or even at the dawn of the century. In 2003, after a nine-year hiatus, Platinum Dunes resurrected Leatherface but started back at the beginning in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
After returning from an illicit trip to Mexico, a cohort of teens is trekking in a van across Texas for a Skynyrd concert. Almost hitting a hitch-hiker, they decide to help the woman out. After providing some grim warnings, she promptly kills herself in their van. Disturbed, the teens head to the nearest stop, only to be told the sheriff will meet them at the old mill. Seeking authorities might be the worst decision that these teens will make, as their presence might irk the authorities, and bring the wrath of the Hewitt family.
As a reboot, before reboots became de rigueur, Texas Chainsaw Massacre does a lot to faithfully follow the main beats of the original. Some slight retcons do muddy the waters of continuity somewhat, this could be due to Platinum Dunes et al. wanting to make their chronology their own. As demonstrated in the revamp of the Sawyer Hewitt family and some of the characters we meet, most notably, Sheriff Hoyt. A supposed member of the local law enforcement, but takes almost a sadistic pride in his work, married with his distrust of the kids, makes for a memorable addition alongside the existing threat of Leatherface.
As you might have ascertained from the intro, Nostalgia is the by-word for this reboot, especially in the early parts, offering a wistful look of the 70s (fondly remembered) with pot-smoking, Sweet Home Alabama blaring. The result evokes more of a nostalgic look of the era than the actual film made in 1973. The film also is tinged in a unique tint, giving the final product a feeling like you were looking through some old photographs, which does a lot to underline the feeling. The wrap around is quite fun and does a lot to conjure up the taken-from-true-yet-classified-events feeling of the original while delivering a jump scare or two, to satiate the pallets of contemporary audiences. Being one of the first films to star Jessica Biel is fun, continuing the franchise’s tradition of helping big Hollywood names to get established. Any excuse to watch R. Lee Ermey in any fictional authority should be enough for modern film fans to give this remake a try.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre feels a lot like the Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but just slightly adulterated; a modern slasher playing a decent homage to its origins while relishing in the more liberal use of cheaper thrills and cheaper gore. Its novel ideas are worthy enough to warrant a watch, even if you’re a die-hard fan of the original, along with a chance to see Ermey and Biel in action, and much of the new and improved Hewitt clan. For the reasons you would expect, and plenty you probably will not, 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre will feel like having old friends over for dinner.
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