Movie Review: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

Synopsis: While driving through rural Texas in 1973, a group of five friends nearly run over a traumatized woman. They decide to give her a ride, but immediately regret that decision when she commits suicide in the back of their van. They seek help but, instead, are hunted down by a chainsaw-wielding maniac, a lunatic sheriff and a group of townspeople who, at minimum, seem to be willing to look the other way.

Who's in it? The movie stars Jessica Biel, Jonathan Tucker, R. Lee Ermey, Mike Vogel and Erica Leerhsen.

Review: My wife was scrolling through movies on Netflix yesterday evening and, being unable to find something that looked interesting and wasn't more than 2-hours in length, ultimately settled on this film. We had seen it before and remembered not liking it all that much. But, it had been a while so we decided to give it another try. After watching it again, my opinion of it was mixed.

There are a couple things I did like about this horror movie. The first is the way the action starts almost immediately. I've seen way too many other films in this genre that chose to spend three-quarters of the movie introducing characters and a complex plot (boring). This film, in comparison, gave us a short introduction to the characters before introducing the suicidal woman (Lauren German) who would ultimately start the process of the friends being hunted down.

I also thought R. Lee Ermey's performance as the sadistic sheriff was awesome. He brought a lot of intensity to his scenes which, in turn, helped build up a lot of the suspense, especially since it was hard to figure out just how far he was willing to go. Was he just there to torment his victims? Or, did he plan on actually killing one or more of them?

Ironically, while I liked Ermey's performance in this film, I also think he might be the reason why I didn't enjoy the overall movie quite as much as I enjoyed the 1974 original. He is so intense, the main bad guy, Leatherface (Anthony Bryniarski) was kind of bland in comparison. I mean, all he did was swing around a chainsaw and wear a mask. Anyone could do that.

Not to mention, for a bad guy, Leatherface seemed kind of wimpy. He had a tendency to drop his chainsaw which, if his victims had made any effort to defend themselves, should have resulted in his death on more than one occasion. Not to mention, Jessica Biel, who isn't exactly someone intimidating, managed to kick his butt. In other words, he seemed like he was a step down from the original, especially since there was another bad guy in the same film who was much more menacing.

Final Opinion: This movie is worth watching for Ermey's performance but is definitely not as good as the original film was.

My Grade: C


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