Director: John Luessenhop
Rating: 4 / 5
I want to start off by saying that I'm not a TCM uber fan. It's not because I don't like it; it's just because I haven't seen all the movies. I've seen the original, and the 2003 remake. I loved how the original was filmed, and how Tobe Hooper directed it; I thought the remake was okay. So I haven't been all that exposed to the movies or Leatherface. Even if I had seen all those, I'm hardly a purist when it comes to these things (I loved the F13 remake), so I'm sure I'd still like this movie. It's not technically a remake, since it takes place after the events of the first movie; but I'm sure there are some old school fans out there who have a problem here.
So, right after Sally escaped from the Sawyer clan, the police showed up, along with a group of angry townspeople. Those townspeople burned the house to the ground, presumably killing everyone inside. There were two survivors: Leatherface, and a little baby girl. Two of the townspeople took the baby and raised her as their own daughter, named her Heather, and she grew up without having the slightest idea of who she really was. That was, until she got a letter saying that her grandmother had passed away -- a grandmother she didn't even know existed. This grandmother had left her house to Heather, and she and her friends took a little road trip to see the place. Along the way, they picked up a cute hitch-hiker (after hitting him with their van; and he actually paid them to give him a ride.) who would prove to be not quite as friendly as they'd thought. When they left to get something to cook for dinner (which he paid for), he decided to steal everything valuable in the house. That led him to the basement, through the wine cellar, and down to the dungeon where Leatherface lived. He was killed, and the maniac was set loose once again.
My point is, I really don't give a shit about the time line being unrealistic. The biggest issue I ever have with a horror movie is that it's boring. If it's exciting, has a decent story and good characters, I'm behind it. I don't care how contrived it seems; if it's done well, I'm cool. And I think this one was very well done. The crew behind the movie knew their stuff; they were either big fans of the movies or they did their research. With the film-making, it was pretty true to the original. And they threw some things in there that should have made fans giggle (I know I did...). Like Officer Hooper, and the fact that the lady who played Sally in the original was Heather's grandmother. And Gunnar Hansen, the original Leatherface, was a white-haired member of the Sawyer family here. I thought it was cool. There were other small things about the movie that I liked as well. Like the fact that Heather knew absolutely nothing about her blood relatives, yet she still grew up to be a butcher. It's in their blood.
But what it really comes down to is the fact that the movie was entertaining. The action was pretty much non-stop, there was a decent amount of gore (which I always love), and that family bond that Heather and Leatherface shared was touching. Seriously, I thought I was going to cry. So the times aren't realistic; I can live with that. So the characters did a few things that don't make sense. Because horror movie characters are always smart about the decisions they make. I can live with that too; we all can, because we have to. It was entertaining, and it stayed true to the only original that I'm familiar with. To me, it's a winner.