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‘Massacre’ of a film

Not many remakes can match the original, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre doesn’t seem to even try.

The remake is faithful to the story and the added special effects are a plus, but the updated dialogue kills the movie’s chances of being anything more than a disposable horror flick.

The latest horror trend to be beaten to death is the smart-mouthed teen with quick and quirky remarks, which can be traced back to 1996’s Scream. This approach was interesting for the first two Scream films. But after Valentine, Urban Legends and the utterly lame I Know What You Did Last Summer, the “smart” teen trend has become an annoying cliché.

Massacre’s cast of ungifted actors and a dulled down script causes the film to suffer and join the ranks of franchises that have overstayed their welcome, such as the latest entries in Friday the 13th (Jason X) or Halloween (Halloween Resurrection).

Nearly three decades after the original Massacre terrified moviegoers in 1974, New Line has taken the story and added the latest special effects and a high-gloss finish, but the film still doesn’t capture the sheer terror of the ’70s classic.

In the ’70s, Massacre, along with The Exorcist, Halloween and The Amityville Horror revived a genre that lay dormant throughout most of the ’60s. Many of those elements carry on in current flicks like Wrong Turn and Jeepers Creepers.

Massacre starts with a group of young teenagers driving back from a drug trip in Mexico, when they encounter a mysterious girl on the road. After nearly running over the spooked girl, the frightened teens offer her a ride. A detour and a bloody suicide later, the film reverts to the obvious scares and clichés that wreck most modern horror movies.

With a proven and nearly perfect blueprint to measure up against, the remake just doesn’t deliver.

If this were just another sequel in the Leatherface franchise, the film would have easily ranked high, but to remake a film that not only started it all but is a horror masterpiece — is almost sacrilegious to fans of the genre.

Jessica Biel is trying hard to escape her 7th Heaven character, but instead leaves one wondering how she got the lead role. Biel’s performance isn’t the lowest point of the film — that honor goes to the film’s untalented supporting cast.

Marcus Nispel, makes the cross from MTV to the big screen as Massacre serves as his first theatrical release. Nispel’s choice of style over substance is better off in the four-minute video format than a feature film.

The film plays more like a tribute rather than an actual remake, paying unfulfilled homage instead of meeting the bar set by the original.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre follows the original plotline closely, but changes in dialogue and tone turn a brilliant opportunity into a cheesy teen slasher flick.

The remake will only seem fresh to people not familiar with the 1974 classic, and it’s a shame to have to settle for second-rate, at best.