In 1974, director Tobe Hooper gave birth to a memorable big screen bogeyman – Leatherface – with the release of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 12th January 2013, 7:00 am

The film fell foul of British censors and was banned for more than 20 years, supposedly as a result of the sustained terror inflicted on the pretty heroine.

Given the picture’s notoriety, a cult following was guaranteed.

Sequels, prequels and remakes have followed but the original film remains a classic of the horror canon.

Director John Luessenhop attempts to reinvigorate the franchise with this lacklustre and gory instalment that begins directly after the events of the original.

Sheriff Hooper (Thom Barry) races to the Sawyer farmhouse, where hulking Jed Sawyer has run amok with his beloved chainsaw.

A tense stand-off spirals out of control when Burt Hartman (Paul Rae) and his gun-toting posse arrive at the scene and torch the house with the family still inside.

“An eye for an eye, sheriff,” grins Burt, “you can’t get around the Good Book.”

One of the locals discovers a chainsaw in the smouldering embers and whoops, “I’m hangin’ this bad boy over the bar!”

Howdy and welcome to Texas: land of sun-kissed cotton fields, in-bred psychopaths and grinning vigilantes.

Gavin Miller (David Born) and his wife Arlene (Sue Rock) steal the last surviving Sawyer baby from the farm and claim the child as their own.

Two decades later, Heather (Alexandra Daddario) discovers the truth about her adoption when she inherits a mansion from a grandmother she never knew existed.

“I just want to know where I came from,” Heather tells her mother.

“Trust me – Newt, Texas, is the last place you want to be,” snarls Arlene.

Unperturbed, Heather heads to her hometown with her boyfriend Ryan (Trey Songz), best friend Nikki (Tania Raymonde) and Nikki’s current squeeze, Carl (Keram Malicki-Sanchez), in tow.

En route, they pick up a hunky hitchhiker called Darryl (Shaun Sipos), and they arrive in Newt, population 2,306, full of expectation.

Alas, the out-of-towners unwittingly stumble into a bloody battle for survival against hulking Leatherface (Dan Yeager), who lives in the basement of Heather’s new home.

Texas Chainsaw is a pointless addendum to the Leatherface mythology, essentially regurgitating the original film while simultaneously sowing the seeds of further sequels.

Some of the performances are embarrassingly wooden – Malicki-Sanchez risks splinters every time he hugs scream queen Raymonde – while death sequences are predictable.

Aside from Daddario’s damsel in distress, the script doesn’t develop supporting characters before they are scythed in half by roaring metal, and the ham-fisted attempts to humanise Leatherface fail to curry sympathy.

Director Luessenhop makes almost no concessions to the 3D format, so if you’re compelled to watched toned midriffs spill glistening entrails, save your pennies and witness the carnage in traditional 2D.

:: RATING: 4/10

(18, 92 min) Horror/Thriller/Romance. Alexandra Daddario, Tremaine ‘Trey Songz’ Neverson, Tania Raymonde, Keram Malicki-Sanchez, Shaun Sipos, Paul Rae, Thom Barry, Scott Eastwood, Dan Yeager, David Born, Sue Rock. Director: John Luessenhop.