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  Movie Review

Texas Chainsaw 3D

By Kurt Jensen
Catholic News Service

NEW YORK (CNS) -- Slapping a family-values gloss on "Texas Chainsaw 3D" (Lionsgate) -- the desultory sequel to the low-budget 1974 gorefest "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" -- hardly seems likely to improve this cinematic mess any.

It doesn't, of course. But because there's little to no shock value in the proceedings -- it's quite boring, as horror films go -- director John Luessenhop, updating Tobe Hooper's original, needs to set up a story line that allows for future sequels.

So this is what they do: They tell a little story 'bout a man named Jed. He's misunderstood, and all his family's dead. He's got him a chainsaw and can lop off a hand. And he saves his purty cousin from an evil rival clan.

No swimming pools. Definitely no movie stars.

The trouble is, Jed Sawyer, aka Leatherface (Dan Yeager), kills recklessly, not just defensively. He sometimes slays people who have committed wrong deeds. But most of the time, he ruthlessly murders anyone who happens to be in his way.

His weapon of choice is the long-blade chainsaw used in slaughterhouses, and he typically dismembers his victims after he kills them.

The film opens with the townsfolk of Newt, Texas, led by the oafish Burt Hartman (Paul Rae), shooting and killing all the Sawyers -- so they think -- and burning down their house.

Two escape: There's young Jed, of course. And there's his infant cousin Heather, who is pulled from the ashes by a bumpkin couple, Gavin and Arlene Miller (David Born and Sue Rock). They kill Heather's mom Loretta (Dodie L. Brown), adopt her, and raise her out of state.

Eventually, the grown-up Heather (Alexandra Daddario) receives word that a just-deceased Sawyer grandmother she never knew has bequeathed the lass her white-columned mansion in Newt. So she heads there with pals Nikki (Tania Raymonde), Kenny (Keram Malicki-Sanchez), Ryan (singer-songwriter Tremaine "Trey Songz" Neverson) and hitchhiker Darryl (Shaun Sipos), who's really a thief.

Guess who the grandmother was caring for in the basement for the past 38 years? None other, of course, than Jed/Leatherface, who is now close to seven feet tall, though has the mental capacity of an 8-year-old.

He dispatches the friends fairly quickly. Not until Heather is in police custody does she learn how the rest of her family was essentially lynched; it's time for Jed's final rampage.

The film contains a vengeance theme, extensive gruesome violence, including killings by chainsaw and axe, drug use, pervasive profane, rough and crude language and sexual banter. The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

- - -

Jensen is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.


Copyright (c) 2013 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
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