The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake took every genre standard that was established in the 1980s (horny teens, virginal final girls, stoner road trips gone terribly wrong, the implacable urbanite fear of rednecks) and mashed them together in a hyper-stylized post-MTV Bouillabaisse.
The director of photography from the original Texas Chainsaw, Daniel Pearl, is a master of smoked-out shafts of light streaming through redwoods and wide-angle lenses. Everyone looks amazing. Who can resist kids with amazing bodies covered in sweat and dirt wearing properly fitted denim? Just because I’m a gay doesn’t mean that I’m incapable of appreciating a flawless tracking shot of Jessica Beil’s ass in lowrise jeans. Jessica has never looked better than in this film, she's toned but still supple and third-wave feminist and her raspy screaming throughout the third act rivals that of any scream queen prior.
It's easy to forget that movies didn't look like this before 2003 because the Texas Chainsaw model has become so firmly ingrained in look of every other horror movie that came after it. I'm a sucker for gorgeous photography and this movie was remarkably shot. Excessive and broad as any Michael Bay film, there is something joyful about the world of this movie. It feels like summer, it feels like Texas, it feels dirty and hot. All the characters in this movie have a backstory and are there for a reason - this cannot be said for any of the remakes that proceeded. Erica Leerhsen and Jonathan Tucker emote their asses off, I don’t think I've ever seen actors playing and maintaining pure terror to such indulgent extremities before or since.
"That's not your baby, you stole her!"