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The 100




Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The
(1994)
Reviewed by Jason Coffman
Rating: 5 Beans

ithout a doubt, "The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (or "TCM: The Next Generation," as the video box tells it), is one of the most surprising video rentals I have had the pleasure of viewing in recent memory. I mainly rented it to laugh at Matthew McConaughey, who a good friend of mine once referred to as "the male Sandra Bullock." Whether it was that my expectations were virtually nonexistent or that it actually isn't that bad is beside the point: for a while at least, this is an entertaining film.

The biggest surprise in the film is the dialogue. At the beginning of the film, we are introduced to Jenny (played by Renee Zellweger), Heather, Sean, and Barry. They are at their prom and eventually end up in Barry's car (driven by Heather), where they eventually run into another car. The setup is the same as in the first Chainsaw film and the third: group of people run into unpleasantries, all are killed but one (female), female endures more unpleasantries at the hands of the evil family.

But another surprise is that the family this time out includes Leatherface not as the usual screaming evil guy, but as the screaming evil guy dressed as a woman. Then there's Vilmer (McConaughey), the killer who drives a wrecker which bears the legend "Illuminati Wrecking" (that's right, "Illuminati" as in the conspiracy theorist's favorite string-pulling organization) and who has a robot leg. His girlfriend Darla (Tonie Perensky) has some new breast implants and talks about them quite a bit when not bickering with Vilmer's brother W.E. (Joe Stevens). The family is obviously dysfunctional, but this time out they're a bit more fleshed-out. The overall effect of seeing Vilmer yelling while Darla and W.E. bicker and Jenny holds a shotgun on them is disorienting, to say the least.

Of course, the film runs out of steam fairly early on-- after Barry is killed, most of the good lines are over. The whole film is extremely campy, especially considering the bizarre domestic disputes in the midst of, well, a Texas Chainsaw Massacre film. Up until the last ten minutes or so, the film almost looks as though it may work. The problem is the ending comes completely out of nowhere, and is very well described by the line of a hospital attendant: "What the hell is going on here?"

At any rate, "The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is a surprisingly entertaining piece of trash. Zellweger is very good, and McConaughey certainly didn't top his performance here in "A Time to Kill." Fans of the series might not appreciate the liberties taken and fun made of the films, but anyone who can see it as camp entertainment will find the experience fun, if not exactly rewarding. After all, any film which ties a robotic-legged Matthew McConaughey and his screwed-up famiy with the Illuminati conspiracy can't be all bad.


Other reviews for this movie:

Jason Bacon
Justin Kosch




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