STARRINGRenee Zellweger - Jenny
Matthew McConaughey - Vilmer Sawyer
Robert Jacks - Leatherface
Tonie Perensky - Darla Sawyer
Joe Stevens - W.E. Sawyer
Lisa Marie Newmyer - Heather
John Harrison - Sean
Year - 1994
Score - 0.5 Howls Outta 4
If you know me pretty well when it comes to films, I don't hide the fact that I dislike remakes. I especially dislike remakes of horror films that don't need the reboot treatment at all. Not to say all horror remakes are horrible. I loved John Carpenter's 1982 version of THE THING. I also enjoyed Zack Synder's 2004 version of DAWN OF THE DEAD and Marcus Nispel's 2003 remake of the classic TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE with Jessica Biel. But for every one of those, you get that unneeded PSYCHO remake. Or that unneeded THE OMEN remake. Or the unneeded THE FOG remake. I can go on and on.
When it comes to THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE franchise, it seems every film is the same as the original. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION - the fourth film in the franchise is probably the worst. This was the first attempt of a remake for this franchise and boy, is it a doozy. So you better head down to the hardware store, ladies and gentlemen, because this film is gonna rust your chainsaw.
PLOTFour high school seniors, who happen to look like the older siblings of four high school seniors, leave their prom over silly crap. They end up crashing their car in the dark, smoky woods and after whining about stupid crap, they look for help. The help comes in the form of Leatherface and his bizarre [and overacting] family, who like killing people because the government and aliens tell them to. Um, yeah. Anyway, the four of them have to deal with the family, hoping to outsmart them [ha ha ha!] for their own survival.
I've watched this film several times and I still keep asking myself, "Who in the hell thought this piece of film crap was a great idea and deserved to be filmed for profit?" Was a profit actually made on this film? Probably not because this film sucks harder than Lindsay Lohan on a coke binge. This film is so bad that I'm having trouble thinking of good things to say about this film. It's an abomination to the legacy that the original 1974 THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE left to the horror genre. I mean seriously...this was supposed to be a 20th anniversary update/remake of one of the most highly regarded horror films of all time? This film? Really? Okay, whatever. If the producers of TROLL 2 were on Crystal Meth, then the producers of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION were on heroin. I can't explain how you can take something so simple like inbred hillbillies who murder people for food and turn it into...THIS! It boggles my mind! It really does!
Where can I start with my disgust for this film? Oh right - Kim Henkel, the man who wrote and directed this pathetic piece of cinema. First of all, this guy co-wrote the original THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE along with Tobe Hooper, who directed the original. If you wrote such a classic film and want to enhance it with a retelling, why would you want to turn your best work into a joke? Because that's what this film is. Before I get into the script, let me just say that his direction sucks. No suspense or tension at all in this film. The lighting is horrible. Character development would be a bonus for this film. He uses a smoke machine every chance he gets like he's shooting an 80s metal music video. He tries to direct familiar scenes that are taken from the original film and fails miserably. Were those metal meat hooks necessary, because there was no point of them being in the film. There was a reason for them in the original. Here, it's just a prop that leads nowhere. This family wasn't a group of cannibals, like in the original. They could have just killed these people and skinned them. The hooks didn't really do much because that Heather girl escaped from it anyway with a scab on her back. God, just writing this pisses me off. You could tell he wasn't sure what to shoot for because the film is all over the place. I've seen YouTube videos directed better than this. It's really sad because his direction could have made this film better than it is, but it's just as bad as the script he wrote. Was Henkel trying to make a bad film? I wasn't sure if this was a horror film or a comedy! Henkel shot sequences and just quick edited them together to make a "film". That's the best way to describe his work. I don't think he ever directed another film after this. Thank God. Say what you want about Uwe Boll, but at least he has some decent moments time to time. Henkel should have left the franchise alone as it was.
And I didn't even get to the script yet, which was also done by Henkel. Wow, Bad Screenwriting 101. What was up with the horrible dialogue? Do people in Texas really talk like this? I highly doubt it. These characters would spout out the stupidest things in the middle of some really stupid situations. These people are caricatures of real human beings, because no sane person would do or say what these retards would do or say. I mean, who hangs out with their boyfriend after catching the asshole cheating? Or calling Renee Zellwegger's character a "dog". She was pretty cute, I thought. Do glasses make you ugly? It's like she couldn't escape that description of her. And she took it in stride! WTF?? And these "kids" get into a truck with a lunatic, and knowing that for a fact BEFORE getting into the truck with him. And they don't act surprised to see dead bodies laying around. Murder must be common in that backwards Texas town. Oh, and then there's that kid who runs away from Matthew McConaughey's Vilmer after Vilmer snaps another kid's neck. He actually STOPPED running while Vilmer is chasing him down with his truck to have a conversation with him over Vilmer's reasons for wanting him dead! Who in the hell does that!?
And then there's Heather, who speaks and acts like a blonde bimbo even though she's not. She claims to be a "bitch" to support her acting stupid [?], wants a song written about her if she crashes her car [??], wants to wait five minutes instead of quickly getting up to escape her tormentors [???], and doesn't understand this joke:
"What did the blonde say when her boyfriend blew into her ear? Thanks for the refill."
If the Sawyer family wasn't already hurting Heather, I would have easily done the job myself. I don't think the family from TROLL 2 was as stupid as this girl. And let me not forget her boyfriend, who locked himself INSIDE the killers' home, asking the KILLERS for the location of a phone so he could call the cops on them! What a genius! And then while he's trying to keep himself alive, he decides to take a bathroom break to pee. Because after all, your bowel movements take precedence over the status of your life. And he spouted some stupid dialogue too, which I don't care to mention.
And then we have Leatherface himself. Or is it herself now? I'm not quite sure. The Leatherface I know was a chainsaw wielding badass who would scare the shit out of you while chasing your soon-to-be dead ass in the woods. This Leatherface is a whiny person who gets abused by his family and dresses in some Victoria's Secret lingerie while wearing a nice wig with make-up and red lipstick. If he wants to identify as a different gender or dress like a woman, that's cool. But the portrayal is so bad, it's almost insulting in a way. This is a subplot that deserved an explanation or at least a build or something. I don't care how Leatherface identifies himself, as long as it isn't treated like as something to shock audiences. The character and the communities this film is catering to deserve better.
And the rest of the family were just as stupid. Aliens? Government agents? A quote-spouting idiot? Matthew McConaughey acting crazy [must have been because he was wearing a shirt]? Was I supposed to be scared by these people? Screaming fits that came out of nowhere? Was I supposed to be laughing at these people? Because I was laughing at how bad these characters and the dialogue were. Just horrible filmmaking. That's all there is to it.
Was there anything I did like? The Darla character played by Tonie Perensky was pretty funny. So was Matthew McConaughey's overacting. And the chase between Leatherface and Jenny in the second act of the film was decently shot, though it was more ridiculous than suspenseful. I mean, they were both on the roof and Jenny climbs an antenna to escape Leatherface. Um...the guy has a long chainsaw. He could either do some damage to that weak antenna or cut your limbs off since it's a long weapon. Duh? And what about that ending that went entirely nowhere. If I wasn't so glad to see the damn end credits after 90 minutes of torture, I would complain about how abysmal it was. This whole film was one big brain fart.
The acting...oh, the acting. Well some of it isn't so bad actually. It just looks worse due to the horrible script. I feel sorry for Renee Zellwegger, who played the lead female Jenny. She does what she can with the role and still ends up looking stupid. And it isn't her fault because she is a good actress [we've seen that in the roles she's famous for today]. So I don't blame her for this. I blame her agent for getting her involved in this mess. Thank God she came out of this one unscathed. Robert Jacks as Leatherface was not good. All he does is scream. Tonie Perensky was cool and one of two people who entertained the hell out of me in this film for the right reasons. Her Darla character was barely developed [why was she married to Vilmer anyway?] but she was sassy and had a sense of twisted humor that must be seen to be appreciated. Joe Stevens as W.E. annoyed me with his quotes. Could have done without the guy. Lisa Marie Newmeyer as Heather...I already said all I had to say about her. I wasn't sure if she was acting stupid or she really was stupid. And John Harrison as Sean, as well as Tyler Cone as ignorant Barry, should never act on film or television ever again. The only time I want to hear these guys is when they're asking whether I want fries with my burger.
And finally, the only reason why I didn't give this film a big fat ZERO: Matthew McConaughey. Sure, his Vilmer character was just as ridiculous as the other characters, but McConaughey's over the top acting really worked for me. He's charismatic and all over the place with his performance, but you can tell McConaughey is having a great time. And because of that, we enjoy watching him torture his lesser talented co-stars. I would have been bored without him in this film. Thank you, Mr. McConaughey for your attempt to bring some life into this dead film. Now here's twenty bucks so you can finally buy a shirt.
THE FINAL HOWL
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION is as bad as the title is long. Kim Henkel took everything that was great about the original and destroyed it in 90 minutes. If it wasn't for Matthew McConaughey's performance, I wouldn't even bother with this film. But if you like bad cinema to watch horrible actors, barely developed characters, terrible filmmaking, and Leatherface explore his feminine side to shock people rather than to embrace a certain community, then this film is for you! Just don't take this film seriously. You might get to enjoy it if you don't.