ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  macus nispel

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  horror

LENGTH  -  98 minutes

RELEASED  -  17 october 2003

DISTRIBUTOR  -  new line cinema

OFFICIAL SITE  -  chainsaw massacre

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $9,500,000
the texas chainsaw massacre - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from the texas chainsaw massacre at

buy the dvd from the texas chainsaw massacre at

on a trip through texas to mexico, a group of teens pick up the survivor of a massacre that took place the night before.

michael bay was originally set to direct.


picture from the texas chainsaw massacre

picture from the texas chainsaw massacre

picture from the texas chainsaw massacre


two out of four possible stars

If you enjoy films where the characters are scantily dressed, dicey decisions abound and there is a lack of measurable intelligence in any one of the protagonists, you'll probably like sitting through The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. If you like brainless slasher films, this remake of one of the original slasher films (that went by the same name) might give you a few jumps and cause you to squirm a few times. But far from keeping you up for hours the night after you see it, it's easy to forget the cookie-cutter characters and the lack of real ingenuity as far as the horror genre is concerned.

It's damn near impossible to create something in a horror film that nobody's seen before and it's doubly hard in a slasher film. Belonging in a genre all their own, the slasher film has become something of an art form in cinema, and when it's done well, a film like this can have the ability to scare an audience's socks off and cause nightmares for several nights afterward. But if you've seen one slasher film, you've seen this one too. It's just another couple of hours of knives, screaming, running, and sweat, all set around the backdrop of a deserted and desolate area.

Though the original Massacre is lauded as one of the first real classics of the horror genre, it's really not that impressive of a film. It simply has the distinction of being one of the first. The Massacre of 2003 really doesn't have a distinction. It's just the latest in a long string of slasher films where lots of people get cut up, shot, or bludgeoned. And the 2003 version looks somewhat slicker, though the color is de-saturated and muted to make the year 1973 seem a bit more evident to the viewer. But even though the film is interesting to look at (the cinematography is not unique, but it still could be considered a creative accent for the film), it's just a shame that we've seen every single one of the characters before.

There's the comic relief (played by Jonathan Tucker as Morgan), the sexually uninhibited girl ("Pepper," played by Erica Leerhsen), the good girl (played by Jessica Biel). We've seen all these characters before played by various actors in variously successful horror films. Truthfully, their performances can't really be faulted, as each actor is rather successful in creating the look and feeling of abject terror. But with so little character development to chew on, the actors should probably be congratulated for making their characters as vivid as they appeared.

Elements such as cinematography (discussed in some detail above), musical score, and set decoration are each created with the genre in mind and are very appropriate for the film. The idea of dousing the color and putting an emphasis on sweat and dust allows the film to look and feel (as much as one can feel a film) like rural Texas. And the music, an element upon whose proper use slasher films depend, is trotted out at all the correct times, adding that element of suspense to what is a competent editing job. On a budget of nine million dollars, the filmmakers should be congratulated on making a tightly bound product with no glaring technical errors or annoyances.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a well-made horror film. It's definitely not something that will start a new revolution in slasher films, but as a member of the genre, it comes close (or probably equals) what was created in the original. People who enjoy slasher films will find all the usual components of that brand of horror in this movie and should enjoy it. Potential audience members who want a visceral scare that will make you jump from your chair a few times will probably do well in the theater as well. If you can get easily carried away with what amounts to a one-hundred minute chase scene, you'll probably be glassy eyed and entertained until the closing credits.

If, on the other hand, you don't like horror films, don't see this film. It's an easy choice to make since this film is embedded deep in the horror genre and nowhere else. It's not like, for example, the movie Alien which straddles the science fiction and horror genres. And it's not really like last year's The Ring which was a horror films packed with a taut mystery. No, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a thick and bloody horror film that does justice to its genre and is a well-made film in all respects. Don't expect anything more than what you're expecting from what you see in the trailer and this film will be a satisfying theatrical experience.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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