Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation

1994, Movie, R, 86 mins


Less a sequel than a remake gussied up with a couple of contemporary flourishes, this cruel and superfluous follow-up to the groundbreaking meat movie THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, written and directed by original Saw coscripter Kim Henkel, has been kicking around for more than a year. It's finally getting a theatrical release on the strength of stars Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey, who've both rocketed to oh-so-bankable stardom since testing the waters with this regional production. Smart social outcast Jenny (Zellweger) and three of her friends leave their high-school prom and take a very wrong turn onto a dusty back road. Before you can say, "Don't go into those woods," the kids are being pursued by the vicious Vilmer (McConaughey) and his brood of rustic psycho-killers. With Leatherface (John Jacks) up to his old tricks, flaky teen queen Heather (Lisa Newmyer) on a meat hook and the two boys (John Harrison and Tyler Cone) dead, it's up to plucky little Jenny to escape the house of backwoods horrors. Henkel's directing debut isn't incompetent: It's just derivative, pointless and tediously repetitive. The original Saw was a seething, paranoid, near-apocalyptic nightmare of what inbred folks get up to behind the barn, and plucked at a raw nerve of early '70s anxiety about the world's descent into hell in a handbasket. But 25 years later, the same material looks tired and dated, and trying to ally the chainsaw family with some shadowy international cabal of sadomasochists ("They run everything," confides Vilmer's slutty girlfriend Darla) doesn't do a thing to make it feel fresh or new. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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