There isn't that much chainsaw action in Texas Chainsaw 3D
. In most other regards, though, it functions exactly as you'd expect. As with most latter-day slashers, John Luessenhop's iteration of the genre-defining series is more gory than scary. After an initially confusing montage made up of footage from Tobe Hooper's 1974 original that establishes this as a direct sequel, the film eases into a stage-setting first act that creates a passably tense atmosphere. Like many horror movies, though, Texas Chainsaw 3D
is better at ominously hinting at events to come than actually delivering them—and besides, watching a man-child with a chainsaw both outrun and outwit a group of able-bodied teens is only believable (or frightening) up to a point. Danger comes from both the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface and the badge-wearing cops, an angle that gradually (and effectively) reverses our sympathy. This is an artless exercise, yes, but it's also sporadically successful in its attempts to expand on the Leatherface mythos in a newish way. Surprisingly, the film ends up more enjoyable for its thicker-than-water subtext than for its requisite chainsaw violence, and Texas Chainsaw 3D
is the rare superfluous sequel whose filmmaker actually seems familiar with (and invested in) the original material enough to put a worthwhile spin on it. It no doubt benefits from low expectations, but it turns out that this is the best bad slasher in quite a while.