The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

(On DVD, July 2016) Slick, loud and utterly forgettable, 2003’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot exemplified early on the defining characteristics of the recent (and hopefully disappearing) craze for remaking classic horror movies. The technical values are quite a bit better than the originals, but while the story structure remains the same, it’s filtered through a homogenizing process that removes nearly all the rough edges and quirks of the inspiration. The result usually feels lifeless, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake couldn’t be more representative of the trend. Featuring young protagonists facing down hillbillies, it’s a predictable by-the-number exercise in genre horror, with largely forgettable set pieces that are executed well enough to measure up to current production standards, but not so memorably as to warrant any sustained attention. It’s purely a teen slasher in backwater country, and there’s nothing worth pondering in terms of themes or style. Nobody will care about the limp attempt at framing the movie as a true-crime story. Jessica Biel is the notional protagonist here, but this won’t figure on her filmography as anything more than a stepping stone to more visible roles. Gorier yet less disturbing than the original, this Texas Chainsaw Massacre also shares another crucial characteristic of remakes: It’s unnecessary, and will quickly be forgotten in favour of its predecessor.

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