Dulling the blade

Movie: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Studio: New Line Cinema
Release Date: 2003-10-17
Cast: Jessica Biel, Eric Balfour, Andrew Bryniarski, R. Lee Ermey, Lauren German
Director: Marcus Nispel
Screenwriter: Scott Kosar
Music Score: Marilyn Manson
WorkNameSort: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Our Rating: 2.50

There are only two credible reasons to remake a movie as influential as the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1974). One is to lampoon it; the other is to take in such a startlingly new direction that it becomes its own film. This carefully timed cash-in does neither, merely (and mildly) reshuffling the oft-imitated elements of Tobe Hooper's teens-vs.-hillbillies psychodrama. Less putrid than just pointless, the movie has in its favor some cinematography, art direction and acting that are a cut or two above the usual Halloween-season fare. ("Six Feet Under's" Eric Balfour plays one of the easier-to-dispatch victims.) But in terms of shock value, well ... the only really unprecedented sight here is a point-of-view shot that goes straight through a bullet hole blown in the head of a suicide case. There's also a gratuitous Harry Knowles gag, which elicited knowing chuckles from no more than three people in our preview audience.

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