Before being sent to serve in Vietnam, two brothers and their girlfriends take one last road trip, but when they get into an accident, a terrifying experience will take them to a secluded house of horrors, with a chainsaw-wielding killer.
Radio DJ Vanita 'Stretch' Brock's open request night is plagued by the annoying phone pranking of two road tripping, party-hard, hoodlums, but things take a disturbing turn when the hoodlums meet their demise at the hands of familiar chainsaw wielding maniacs. With the entire gruesome ordeal recorded on tape, Stretch seeks out the help of a former Texas Marshall who's on a personal quest of vengeance against this family of cannibals. While at first he turns her down, he eventually decides to use her tape to his advantage, asking her to air it during her request block- effectively baiting the cannibals to the radio station where he'll personally deal with them. Written by
Hooper's stylish directing saves this from being an unwatchable schlockfest.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a terrible film. I knew going in it would be nothing like the original and was completely fine with that, but this movie goes out of its way to be as ridiculous as possible. The genuine scares from the original have been replaced by awkward comedic bits, from the cannibal family's bickering to Leatherface making silly faces (yeah, they had the audacity to turn Leatherface into a punchline).
It's just embarrassing, and this is largely due to an inconsistent script. The first act sets an ominous tone from its premise of hearing a murder live on the radio and the radio host being terrorized by the same murderers. Then the second act is silly, borderline cartoonish with Leatherface acting like a hormonal teenager; and the third act tries to pay homage to the original by recreating the dinner scene almost exactly as it was in the first (but not nearly as effective) combined with an admittedly cool chainsaw duel between Lefty (Dennis Hopper) and Leatherface, then closing with a somewhat thrilling final struggle for the heroine to make her escape. Then it closes with another "homage" to the original and then credits roll and a cheesy '80s pop song ensues. If not for the second act, it had potential to be an engrossing story and potentially disturbing (the gore is still top-notch) but the drastic shifts in tone make it virtually impossible to become immersed into this overtly fake, cartoonish world.
Thankfully, Tobe Hooper's directing makes even the dullest moments of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 aesthetically pleasing. The location and set design is perfect - the underground lair with brightly colored lights juxtaposed with rotting corpses and leftover entrails is oddly unsettling, and the scenery during the final moments of the movie is hauntingly beautiful. Hooper knows how to make these scenes look as gritty and urgent as possible. Dennis Hopper's Texas ranger was also a welcome addition. He was related to Franklin of the first movie and is out for revenge on these hillbillies so he buys the biggest chainsaw he can, then storms their lair screaming his lungs out like a lunatic.
What ultimately killed this movie for me (aside from the script) is the lead actress. She is just awful. You can't take anything she says seriously because of how poorly she delivers her lines, and her screams are so forced and annoying I was practically rooting for Leatherface to chop her head off. Her relationship with Leatherface is also forced and awkward, but maybe that was the screenwriters' attempt at comedy. There are a couple laughs in this movie, and by that I mean two; three max. Something about the bombastic chainsaw duel is undeniably exhilarating, despite it not being fleshed out to its full potential.
There is some fun to be had in this movie, but you have to suffer through a lot of stupidity to get there. I have no idea how sequels continued coming out after this, and I can even empathize why they would want to make a "sequel reboot" with Texas Chainsaw 3D, but that was even more abominable than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre's true sequel
this - and this is pretty darn bad. This movie is for Leatherface
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