Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Jessica Biel, Eric Balfour

Directed by Marcus Nispel
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
October 17, 2003

"Bring it! Bring it now!" demands a grizzled old Texan in a wheelchair. And suddenly it appears, a humming chain saw in the hands of Leatherface (Andrew Bryniarski), a monster who knows how to carve up horny teenagers. In that moment, I thought The Texas Chainsaw Massacre might actually capture the spirit of the 1974 Tobe Hooper horror classic that cost two cents (actually $150,000) and grossed more than $100 million. No sex. No blood. Just nonstop tension generated by being at the mercy of a family of inbred cretins in some Texas backwater.

Three misbegotten Chainsaw follow-ups, trapping the likes of Viggo Mortensen and Renee Zellweger, have been made since then. The new one is an improvement, but just barely. Director Marcus Nispel, acclaimed for his ads and music videos, has a sharp eye and the good sense to hire Daniel Pearl, who shot the first Chainsaw. But all the bad-rehash mojo from Friday the 13th to The Blair Witch Project has infected Scott Kosar's script. Hooper went for primitive, Nispel goes for slick. Hooper went easy on the gore, Nispel pours it on. What can the actors do? Well, R. Lee Ermey as a local sheriff not above copping a feel off a corpse is wonderfully repulsive. But Jessica Biel and Erica Leerhsen have clearly been hired for their lungs, be it to scream or fill a tank top. And the guys (Eric Balfour, Jonathan Tucker, Mike Vogel) are just fresh meat for Leatherface. Chainsaw is produced by Michael Bay (Bad Boys I and II), which explains its soullessness. But nothing explains the flaw in this bad boy: How can a movie scare you when you've seen it all before?

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Road to Nowhere”

    Talking Heads | 1985

    A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

    More Song Stories entries »