In recent years, it has been rare to find a slasher movie or horror flick without an occasional wink to the audience. From "Scream" 's conceits to the casting of Jamie Lee Curtis' mother in "Halloween H20", it's as if we've lost our tolerance for straight-down-the-line horror. "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" doesn't try anything funny, there are no winks to the audience. And it's all the better because of it.
When Sally and Franklin Hardasty hear that their grandfather's grave has been desecrated they call up three friends and set off to investigate. They to travel to their grandfather's old farm, stopping only to pick up a hitch-hiker. So begins their introduction to a cannibal family and an extensive array of power tools.
Like any decent slasher movie, there's something unsettling about "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" that goes beyond the blood and gore. Leatherface is a purely murderous creature (there's no reasoning or placating him) but he's still a plausible one. And the shaky camerawork, lo-fi special effects, and down-and-dirty screams and chainsaws soundtrack all help give the film a terrifyingly believable documentary quality.
You'll be surprised at how much you don't see, how few directly gore-ridden moments there are, and how totally lacking in escape it is, but the film remains a stunning example of remorseless horror, and an unmissable panacea to the pre-packaged faux-horror that we've all become slowly accustomed to.
Read a review of the sequel.