Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation

Weekly Alibi

DIRECTED BY: Kim Henkel

REVIEWED: 03-09-98

I think it's safe to say I wasn't expecting too much from this one, but boy, was I pleasantly surprised. Shot several years ago and starring then-unknowns Renee (Jerry Maguire) Zellweger and Matthew (Amistad) McConaughey, this fourth entry in the TCM series found itself balled up (as rumor would have it, anyway) in all sorts of legal trouble when the two headliners went ballistic career-wise, and their respective agents tried to keep the movie from being released. While I'm not sure I completely buy that story, I'm glad the flick is finally rearing its blood-spattered head, 'cause it's damnably entertaining! Written and directed by Kim Henkel (who wrote the original 'Saw), the flick follows the misadventures of a bunch of prom-going teens who find themselves lost in the woods after a backroads car-wreck. Renee is the gawky, unattractive one (yeah, right), therefore she's the only one with the sense to realize something bad is happening as the 'Saw Family begins to close in. I don't wanna give much away, because while the whole flick is basically a rehash of the first movie, Henkel puts enough of a spin on things to keep it interesting, and it's certainly one twisted piece of drive-in cheese. Renee and Matthew (who plays the alpha male of the 'Saw Family this time around) are good in their roles, but my heart belongs to Lisa Newmyer (Heather, the ditsy, self-proclaimed "bitch" prom queen), whose acting is so endearingly goofy I could hardly control myself. Tyler Cone as her lust-crazed asswipe prom date is great as well. In fact, the only character who doesn't deliver like I'd hoped is Leatherface himself, although when he dons his Liz Taylor outfit for the final dinner scene, he starts to shine. While not as cool as TCM Part 2, this one definitely tops Leatherface: TCM Part 3 (which had its moments) but still doesn't approach the original. Definitely worth renting, though--but if we're gonna dig stuff outta the closet and you really wanna see Renee at her white-trash best, also pick up Love and a .45, Cardy Talkington's Tarantino-wannabe Texas violence-fest, wherein Renee spills water all over her shirt to distract a border guard (I have it on good authority that big R wasn't wearing panties for most of the shoot, too). (Columbia Tristar)

--Scott Phillips

Interviews
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation

Full Length Reviews
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation

Film Vault Suggested Links
Friday the 13th, Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
Necronomicon

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