It’s Halloween. Your partner wants to watch a romantic comedy. Something sweet, maybe starring Renee Zellweger or Matthew McConaughey. Bridget Jones’s Diary perhaps, or even that stinker called Fool’s Gold. But you realise there’s a way around it because those two Oscar winners appeared actually appeared together in a horror film once upon a time. So you say you’re willing to watch a film starring both of them and gleefully rub your hands together like some criminal mastermind as you select Texas Chainsaw Massacre – The Next Generation. It seems like a great plan, yes?
Except it isn’t. And here’s why…
The movie begins on a prom night for four clueless teenagers. You’ll know them from the clichés: Wise-ass arrogant cheating scumbucket Barry, shallow attractive girl Heather, ineffectual good guy Sean and nerdy-but-feisty young woman Jenny. They drive off into the woods and get into a car crash. Sean is left behind with the car while the others go for help. Our other heroes (if you want to call them that) get separated, and a tow truck arrives at the car.
Naturally, the tow-truck driver Vilmer has a bionic leg, is a psychopathic redneck and he promptly kills Sean. Heather and Barry arrive at a creepy farmhouse, where Barry is more obsessed with using the bathroom than having a gun shoved in his face. Heather gets put into a meat locker, Barry gets killed with a sledgehammer, and it turns out that the sometimes-chainsaw-wielding Leatherface, Vilmer and several of their oddball family are in the mood for… a pizza party.
Of course, the nerdy feisty girl Jenny is the only one who stands any chance of surviving. That’s because… she’s feisty? Oh, and nerdy. Also, she has a more powerful remote control for Vilmer’s bionic leg than Vilmer does. Seriously, don’t ask. In a shocking twist, Leatherface apparently doesn’t know how to use a chainsaw either. Meanwhile, Jenny can apparently survive anything short of a nuclear bomb without more than a couple of scratches. Ultimately, and she gets help from a bizarre face-licking Illuminati guy who calls in an airplane to scalp Vilmer. Honestly, I’m not making this up as I go along.
However, this film seemed to be.
This is a movie that uses every stupid horror movie cliché out there and succeeds in making them worse. With a painfully slow pace, you keep hoping for something scary to happen that may liven it up. Don’t, because it doesn’t. Leatherface jogging around in drag, waving his chainsaw about limply, is just sad and a real step down from the legendary force he once was in the horror community. His family of freaks are so lame they wouldn’t even be accepted as guests on an episode of Jerry Springer.
Renee Zellweger may be able to act well in many films, but she couldn’t act at all in this. Her reaction to seeing her dead boyfriend being a flat, unemotional “Oh. Oh God.” is so weak it’s amazing she got any work after this at all. Still, Matthew McConaughey manages to put on a great performance and the soundtrack is good. Yet there’s never any real sense of danger, let alone a damn massacre as the title suggests.
Worse, the film resorts to campy comedy routines to balance it out, and you can imagine how little fun that is. I know that reviews are just opinions, and you have to see something for yourself before truly judging it… but please, I’m begging you, don’t watch this! You’ll waste an hour and a half of your life. Trust me on this, I’m trying to help you.
So the next time your partner wants to watch a rom-com starring one of these Oscar winners, don’t think you’ve found the easy way out by choosing Texas Chainsaw Massacre – The Next Generation instead. You’re only fooling yourself. There is no easy way out.