Let me preface this by saying 1) I don’t usually like really mean-spirited highly-gory movies and 2) I don’t usually like remakes of horror classics — but if I did, it probably would be something like 2003’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
I know the original is an untouchable grisly masterpiece, but there is a gritty, snuff-film, super-sadist quality (largely to do with Marilyn Burns’s too-real performance) about it that makes it hard for me to get through. I’m a delicate flower, I know. The remake, with its elaborate special effects and sweeping cinematography, lacks this “cinema verite” quality…but holds up on its own merits, effectively showcasing the deadly collision between cultures.
Jessica Biel is essentially a female superhero in this, getting over her initial shock at the gruesome proceedings to fuck shit up. Proceeding like a nihilistic episode of “Scooby Doo,” we get to know the victims a bit before they are savagely torn into little pieces—giving these deaths a slight bit more weight and emotional resonance than in similar films.
Again: not saying this is better than the original by any stretch of the imagination. Just saying it’s not bad (compared to, I dunnow, that WTF Nightmare on Elm Street remake).
Also, this movie has one of my fave lines, though it’s totally nonsensical and probably context-dependent: “Kemper…Kemper…Kemper…” (see, completely nonsensical).