After not being involved with the second and third installments of the series (cleverly referred to here as “minor incidents”) the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre screenwriter, Kim Henkel bought the rights back and decided to try to direct Part 4 by himself. He got together a reasonable budget, hired two unknown actors who had just finished shooting a little low budget movie called Dazed and Confused and went to work.
The results are decidedly mixed, but since the two unknown actors were Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger, this got re-released and actually played in theaters. It’s not very good, but if you want to see McConaughey acting positively apeshit, you may have some fun with it.
A quartet of teens get into an accident on prom night and wait for a tow truck. The tow truck driver, Vilmer (McConaughey) turns out to be a walking nutjob with a remote controlled leg (!?!) and the kids end up getting abducted by Leatherface’s increasingly bizarre family. Leatherface whacks a dude on the head with a sledgehammer (again), puts a girl in a freezer (again), chases a girl through the woods with a chainsaw (again), hangs a chick on a meathook (again), and sits everyone around the dinner table (again).
All the teenagers are all annoying and deserve to die, but they’re all killed off rather quickly. That leaves only Zellweger to be tormented for the last 45 minutes or so. She escapes and is recaptured again and again and it starts to become a little repetitive and grating by about the third time she breaks free from the family. The biggest sin Henkel commits though is that he turns Leatherface into a complete pussy. It was fun in the first film when Leatherface dressed up like a woman, but in this flick he spends more time in a fucking dress than Divine. (The length of his mullet also varies from scene to scene too, which is pretty annoying.) He’s largely absent for most of the movie, which allows McConaughey to steal all his thunder.
The film has it’s moments (like the rooftop chase) and for about an hour or so, it’s a fairly decent flick. Until the Iranian businessman with odd body piercings shows up that is. Then everything pretty much goes out the window. The scene where Zellweger turns the tables on McConaughey by fiddling with his remote control and making his leg twitch uncontrollably is a classic though.
If you are watching this movie expecting to see Leatherface do what he does best, namely kill people with a chainsaw, you will be severely disappointed. (He pretty much puts the saw down about halfway through the flick.) If you’re watching this movie expecting to see some good old fashioned cannibalism, you will be severely disappointed. (Nobody eats human flesh in this movie and the family orders PIZZA for Christ’s sakes!) If you are watching this movie expecting to see a good Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequel, you will be severely disappointed. (The remake is marginally better than this one.) But, if you check this out to see a before they were famous Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger earn a paycheck, you might be mildly amused.
At least it’s better than Part 3.
AKA: The Return of the