The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) may be one of the best horror remakes the viewer has seen and is a solid horror movie in its own right. From the first death scene, the viewer sinks into this movie, caught in the quick sand of the situation the one-dimensional characters find themselves in. Erin (Jessica Biel) and Thomas Hewitt / Leatherface (Andrew Bryniarski), are the only characters that get any development in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), though it is sprinkled and paper-thin. If the viewer has seen Tobe Hooper’s original Texas Chainsaw Massacre or any of its lesser sequels, they will likely admit that this “remake” had the best beginning death scene out of all of them. It is brutal and the movie holds that brutality until the resultant dead body is dealt with.
The camera just lingers and lingers and lingers, right on the gruesome destruction of it. It is incredible and twisted, beautiful even. Big budget, studio horror movies usually do not have the guts to do that but this movie does. This Texas Chainsaw Massacre also has the best camera work out of the whole series. The lighting it uses and the way shadows play over the bodies is fantastic, especially when new characters are introduced.
The soundtrack to this slasher film is above average and succeeds in getting the audience into the atmosphere of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) and what some of the characters are going through emotionally. It is not Basil Poledouris’ soundtrack to Conan the Barbarian but it is decent. Steve Jablonsky, the music composer for this Texas Chainsaw Massacre, did an adequate job, a very good job in some instances.
Sheriff Hoyt (R. Lee Ermey) brings authenticity to this movie simply because of his presence on screen. He is hilarious, morbid, abusive, sadistic and authoritative all in his first five minutes of screen time. The viewer grows to look forward to his appearances throughout the movie just to see what he will say or do next.
For all of the brilliance and gore of the first two-thirds of Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), the last third seemed to be more than a little bit censored. The attentive viewer will notice it almost immediately. The movie goes from bloody dismemberments to see no evil, hear no evil kills. Quick camera cuts replace those of Hewitt’s chainsaw. Blood and gore are replaced by frightened looks from cast members and screams. The last few kills are all off screen and the movie’s intensity and electricity suffered because of it.
Was it because of the MPAA? Had this Texas Chainsaw Massacre reached its quota for blood letting and bleeding out bodies? The answer to these questions is yes. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) faced an NC-17 rating if certain death scenes were not toned down. The answer to whether or not The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) ended as entertainingly as the original did is a qualified no. The new ending was entertaining but it did not have the edge or intensity that the original’s ending had.
The blood and the hysteria of that ending is completely gone, wiped cleanly away like the slab in a coroner’s office after an autopsy has been completed. Marcus Nispel’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) teetered on the edge of greatness and recoiled like a frightened child, too afraid to take the plunge.