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The Fifth Cut isn't the Deepest
on 24 February 2017
Original creators' Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel ring the cash registers and 'take the money and run' as this, the first in a long line of 're-imagining's' of their amazing 1970s game changer proves to be an entertaining time waster that looks good, but like most other remakes fails to have anything real cooking under the hood...
Whilst on a road-trip through Texas (natch), a group of pretty people-lite teenagers - led by spunky Erin (Jesscia Biel), her beau Kemper (Eric Balfour) kooky Morgan (Jonathan Tucker), lovers Pepper (Erica Leerhsen) and Andy (Mike Vogel) decide to pick up a traumatised hitchiker, whose covered in blood and babbling on about how they're all going to die. Why they decide to ride with her is anyone's guess, but as I'm not a horror movie screenwriter its clearly not my place to say. Events unfold as the unlucky holidaymakers soon find themselves running for their lives from a oversized maniac (Andrew Bryniarski) who loves nothing more than prancing around in a flesh made mask and chainsawing folk left, right and centre and a disbelieving local Texan law man (R. Lee Ermey) who between them, both make it their business to torture or torment these hapless teens. And you know folks, that's it.
This first remake (or, fifth in the series. Who's counting) is a well meaning attempt that looks marvelous (thanks to returnee Daniel Pearl's excellent cinematography that at times looks like a painting) and features a genuinely imposing Leatherface in the form of Andrew Bryniarski. Both awkward and scarily tall, his 'Face is a brutal force of nature that holds the genuine ace in the hole for this movie. Scott Kosar's screenplay plays with Hooper/Henkel's original storyline but doesn't move too far off the path, ensuring director Marcus Nispel has a generic A to B scenario to shoot the hell out of - which to be fair, he does. Granted, this one doesn't hold a candle to Tobe's first two movies, but its easily the third best in the whole bloody saga. Sure, its generic and doesn't have a novel idea in its head (sorely missing the sickly dark humor or social commentary of the original two entries) but as an empty headed 90 minute horror ride, it certainly hits the mark more than it misses.
Entertainment in Video's UK Blu-Ray release sports a solid transfer with great audio (listen to that 'saw slice its way through a car roof whilst sparks fly) and a plethora of extra features. This release is sold as the directors cut of the movie, but as I couldn't tell the difference between this and the cinema viewing I experienced all those years ago, it maybe wise to ask someone else what's newly restored or edited. All in all, an okay remake that doesn't take too many chances with the material but delivers a great looking gore fest with pretty people, beautiful landscape photography and razor sharp editing. Recommended for what it is.