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Dustin Putman

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Capsule Review
Texas Chainsaw Massacre:
The Next Generation
2 Stars
Directed by Kim Henkel.
Cast: Renee Zellweger, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Jacks, Tonie Perenski, Joe Stevens, Lisa Newmyer, John Harrison, Tyler Cone, James Gale, Chris Kilgore.
1994 – 95 minutes
Rated: Rated R (for strong violence and language).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, October 2008.

If you're gonna kill me, then do it!

"Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation" is notable for its stars rather than the film itself. Texas-born leads Renee Zellweger (2008's "Appaloosa") and Matthew McConaughey (2008's "Tropic Thunder"), who would probably like to forget this movie ever happened, took these parts before they hit it big, and then had to sit back and watch as the film sat on the shelf until the studio could abuse their name power for commercial ends. Zellweger plays mousy high school senior Jenny, who leaves her prom with three other classmates—Heather (Lisa Newmyer), Sean (John Harrison) and Barry (Tyler Cone)—and ends up lost on a lonesome dirt road. Following a car accident, they go to get help and stumble upon the chainsaw-loving family of deranged lunatics.

Written and directed by Kim Henkel, who positioned the film to be something of a remake of the original 1974 classic, "Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation" is actually a fairly serviceable slasher flick up until a head-scratching last fifteen minutes that introduces and then fails to explain a series of plainly stupid plot twists. Matthew McConaughey goes all out, making you believe he's crazy, as head of the family Vilmer, and Lisa Newmyer (2005's "Sin City") steals the show as the blissfully airheaded Heather. As for Leatherface, he is now portrayed as a dress-and-wig-wearing transvestite who fretfully scampers around and actually obeys Jenny when she yells at him, "You sit the fuck down!" Is "Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation" meant to be taken seriously, or as camp? Nearly fifteen years later, audiences are still trying to answer that question.

© 2008 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman