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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

The 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is simply awful. Like the original, the 2003 remake follows five road-tripping young adults who become prey to a murderous clan in rural Texas, with the bulk of the slaughter left to Leatherface, a monstrous hulk masked in a patchwork of skin from his victims. Where the classic 1974 original was lo-fi, fierce and economical, this remake stinks of aesthetic hyperactivity. Every moment is busy, every crisis is high maintenance, and, as a result, the characters are consistently forced into bad decisions and dumb plans that divorce the audience's sympathy from their excruciatingly overwrought plight. The remake's emphasis on graphic gore also replaces the visceral terror of the original with a tastelessly glib sadism. Fans of the original should be outraged by the remake's compulsive need to over-explain and overemphasize, by the cartoony performances and the ghastly added melodramas. Taken on its own merits, the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a bad movie. Compared to the original, it is a case-study in ego and ignorance. Starring Jessica Biel, R. Lee Ermey, Jonathan Tucker, Erica Leerhsen and Eric Balfour. Directed by Marcus Nispel; produced by Michael Bay. The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer with Dolby Digital EX 5.1 Surround and DTS audio mixes. This DVD release features a gimmicky tin faceplate and an enclosed envelope of "crime scene evidence," as wells as three commentary tracks featuring nearly the entire cast and crew. There is also a second disc of extras, including the deleted scenes documentary Severed Parts; a feature-length making of documentary Chainsaw Redux: Making a Massacre; the new half-hour documentary: Ed Gein: The Ghoul of Plainfield; screen tests for Biel, Balfour and Tucker; art galleries featuring Leatherface concept art; trailer; TV spots; Motograter music video for "Suffocate." Fold-out digipak with cardboard sleeve (and tin faceplate).
—Gregory P. Dorr

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