Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Film Review: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (Review)
United States/1986
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

After she records a vicious murder, Stretch, a radio host, teams up with Lieutenant Lefty to capture a suspected serial killing family. When Lefty convinces Stretch into playing the murder tape live, Stretch becomes the target of Chop-top and his chainsaw-wielding brother, Leatherface.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 has a strong comedy presence, while horror takes the backseat. In other words, the gritty realism and cautionary-vibe of the first film is absent. It is replaced with maniacal dialogue and actions, and over-the-top gore and violence. The film begins strongly with a two obnoxious kids shooting and shouting as they drive. They are eventually attacked, showing off the stronger gore presence. The film continues with a slow and interesting build-up. A radio station scene introduces the insane Chop-top and his brutal, misunderstood brother, Leatherface. This sequence is memorable for both its dialogue and its jump-scare (don't spoil it for yourself, it's actually really good.) At this point, however, which is about halfway through, the film stumbles.

The film continues with its comedic approach, which is heavily reliant on Chop-top's eccentric personality. However, his over-the-top personality becomes annoying after his great introduction; it's not funny and it's too much, it's too overwhelming. The suspense and horror is absent, I wasn't actually scared during the second half of the film. The special effects are great, but never match the introduction's superb sequence. The ending is also familiar, but rushed in a bad way. However, although the ending feels rushed, the second half of the film drags on and on; the 1hr 41min version is repetitive and bland, and it overstays its welcome.

The acting is okay. Dennis Hooper plays Left; much of his performance is filled with monologues, and they are presented competently - nothing special or terrible. Caroline Williams plays Stretch, and she plays her character well for the first half. Like the writing, she loses control during the second half and performs aimlessly. Bill Moseley plays Chop-top and initially nails the character, but his performance becomes to repetitive and irritating during the second half of the film; this may be due to the sloppy writing, but it is partly due to his performance - his energy comes off as slapstick instead of creepy like the hitchhiker. Tom Savini blesses this film with his superb special effects, but is unfortunately underutilized.

Overall, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 has a great first half - the comedy works, the gore is impressive, and the buildup is nice. But, the second half of the film drags on and on with bland, repetitive comedy, boring chase scenes, and a weak ending. The film does not work as a comedy or a horror film, the elements simply don't blend together well in this film. Fans of the genre should rent before purchasing, unless you can find the Blu-ray at a low price. On that note, the Blu-ray has great picture and audio quality.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

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