The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) - New Line Platinum Series

Genre(s): Horror / Thriller
New Line || R - 98 minutes - $29.95 || March 30, 2004
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2004-09-04


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Marcus Nispel
Writer(s): Kinn Henkel (1974 screenplay) and Tobe Hooper (1974 screenplay), Scott Kosar (screenplay)
Cast: Jessica Biel, Eric Balfour, Erica Leerhsen, Jonathan Tucker, Mike Vogel, E. Lee Ermey, Andrew Bryniarski


Theatrical Release Date: October 17, 2003


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:

    Disc 1:
  • Production Commentary
  • Story Commentary
  • Technical Commentary


  • Disc 2:
  • Alternate Opening and Ending
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Chainsaw Redux: Making a Massacre
  • Ed Gein: The Ghoul of Plainfield
  • Screen Tests
  • Art Galleries
  • Original Theatrcial Trailer and TV Spots
  • Music Video


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS ES 5.1), English (Stereo Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a remake is alright overall and it is certainly better than the original 1974 version by Tobe Hooper. There was quite a bit of hype that was built up in my mind coming from friends and critics alike. Some say it's not only sick and twisted but also one of the scariest movies they have seen in a long time. While I can agree about the sick and twisted part, it was not that scary overall. Yes, there were a few scary moments but as the movie rolled along, I became bored with it.

On the plus side, the acting is far, far, far better than the original version. The best performance in my book goes to 7th Heaven's Jessica Biel who not only has a nice strut walking to and fro from the creepy house of horrors, but also has a nice scream- something I found almost hilarious in the original.

Something I did find surprising was how good this film looked. Commerical and music video director Marcus Nispel brings a great look to the film giving a creepy feeling to all the sets. Even though I think maybe his direction should've been a bit tighter (and perhaps that's something the editors should have done), Nispel has a good eye and if he's ever given a better script than he could bring a real memorable film someday.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre isn't a bad movie (and nowhere near as bad as critic Roger Ebert says), but it still has many flaws including the fact that this HORROR film isn't altogether that scary.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

I've got to give New Line credit, no matter how good or bad a movie is, they certainly know how to put together a DVD set. Their latest addition to their Platinum Series line is great.

The first disc provides three commentary tracks where the listener can find out little tid bits about the different aspects of the film. Due to time limits and such, I switched back and forth between the three. The first track, about the production, has director Marcus Nispel, producers Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller and then Robert Shaye, the co-chairman/co-CEO of New Line. The second, about the technical portion, has Nispel (again), cinematographer Daniel Perl, production designer Greg Blair, art direction from Scott Gallagher, sound editor Trevor Jolly and composer Steve Jablonsky. And finally the story is covered in the third track with Nispel, Bay, Fuller, Form, screenwriter Scott Kosar and the cast (Biel, Leerhsen, Balfour, Tucker, Vogel and Leatherface himself, Andrew Bryniarski). The reason I grouped these together is because they all have something that irritates me with these type of tracks. I think I've said time and again in other DVD reviews that I prefer a group commentary versus individual ones. When there's a group watching the film together, it feels like you are there with them in a conversation about the film. If they're close, they may banter or tell some interesting stories that happened on the set. However, when they are separated, it's fairly hard to keep track of whose talking (even with a narrator saying the person's name with each change). While there were some interesting things throughout, I was a bit disappointed. They said the usual things and kissed the usual asses. But the one major disappointment was the lack of commentary from the cast, including Jessica Biel who seemed to only have a few minutes. The majority of the story track was taken up (very nicely) by Kosar and being an aspiring screenwriter myself, it was interesting to hear the stories of how he came to Hollywood.

The second disc provided a good amount of treasures that included an hour plus 'making of' featurette, Chainsaw Redux, that went beyond the norm. This feature goes so in depth that they talk about how each actor/actress was cast, including the minor characters such as Leatherface's sister. Normally I have to take a big breath before (to prepare for the boredom that awaits) watching these featurettes but to my surprise it actually informative and entertaining.

My second favorite featurette called Ed Glein: The Goul of Plainfield made me wonder why no one (at least to my knowledge) has a made a movie about this Glein psychopath. Ed Glein was the ultimate mama's boy who, after her death, goes (even more) crazy and starts his career has a grave digger, stealing corpses and making ornaments out of their bones as well as using their skin to place over his own. The he took another step in his criminal career by killing a local woman, gutting her entire insides and hung her skin for use later on. This featurette in of itself was more scary than anything I have seen lately and it would interesting (under the right direction) to see a movie about this man's life.

The rest of the disc has the same sort of features you find on regular editions. There are photo galleries with sketches of Leatherface, the theatrical trailer, Michael Bay's teaser trailer he used to sell the movie to New Line, some TV spots and a music video.

There are also seven deleted scenes that are actually quite interesting and would've put the movie in a new direction. First, the filmmakers' were considering making Jessica Biel's character pregnant (in order to make her beau's death more emotional). Instead, Nispel went with the simple drop of the engagement ring to get the emotional connection (as emotional as a horror movie gets, that is).

Also included are an alternate opening and ending scenes, both taking place in an asylum with an older Elen (Biel's character- played by another actress, by the way). She's recounting the events and the interviewer discovers the police got the wrong man and send a squadron of SWAT to apprehend Leatherface. While I enjoyed that ending, I doubt the TCM fans would've. It was more mainstream and really seemed out of place for this film. But, never-the-less it is good to watch.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Both the sound and picture are excellent for once. Normally, I find some faults (even in newer films) with one or the other (ever so slight), but this set is complete. The roar of the chainsaw or the footsteps of a psycho, all came over clear on my surround sound speakers.

The movie is presented in 1.85 anamorphic widescreen and even though there are three commentary tracks, still includes a New Line DVD staple: the almighty DTS track (as well as Dolby Digital EX 5.1). Any disc that includes a DTS track gets an "A" in my book.



.::OVERALL::.

Despite a fairly average and non-scary horror film, this set as a whole was very well put together with only the commentary tracks being the weak point (just because of the separation of people). This is defintely a great set for any horror movie fan.