Texas Chainsaw Massacre is my favorite film of all time. It’s also a film highly regarded as a classic. Naturally with anything considered classic there are generations of film school graduates who want to make “their version” of that film. Does this always mean good? HELL NO (Rob Zombie has spent his entire career aping the Tobe Hooper way)!!!! Every so often though, a movie will take all it’s notes from the TCM textbook and give us a bloody good time. Gnaw is one such film.
Set in the beautiful British country side, a gang of college age friends take up in a cottage while on a road trip. It appears that though the old farmhouse is a tad on the creepy side, it’s still an inviting enough place to stay. Maintained by an old woman and her son(?) , the group is treated to plenty of meals and warm beds to get them by. While the story unfolds and we get more back story on these oversexed co-eds, it appears not all is well in jolly ol’ England. The resident goth chick is with child because she’s been humping the group’s arrogant pretty boy, behind his girlfriend’s back. Meanwhile, the runt of the group (complete with asthma inhaler) desperately tries to win her attention, with little success. Amidst all this sexiness, we begin to discover that mama and her boy are not nearly as countrified and “aw shucks’ innocent as we believed. Sure, they’re a little on the odd side, but their all the way out here in the country. Who wouldn’t be weird, right? As is the case in every horror flick of this style, things begin to take a turn for the worst. Bodies start dropping and evidence starts to pile up in the home owners’ corner-and now begins the chase. You know what I’m talking about-big, sexually frustrated mama’s boy kills to get off. Of course, this murdering wouldn’t be proper without a killing shed that’s poorly lit and filled with weapon’s of bad intent. Lot’s of gory hackin’ up happens and as we could all imagine, not many are gonna survive.
What this film is lacking in originality, it makes up for in contemporary fear. By this I mean there are a lot of amenities that we rely on that could hinder us from having any sort of survivor’s edge in a bad situation. We are totally crippled by technology i.e., cell phones, iphones, internet access, etc. And when humans are put in a place where these things are not at their immediate disposal, they lose the ability to get away. Do you think the Texas Chainsaw Massacre would’ve ever happened in the cell phone era? Considering most of them probably would’ve had Verizon, probably not (it IS the largest 3G network after all). Our constant communication and luxuries have also made us soft. I know that we’ve all gone somewhere and panicked because we forgot our cell phone. When that shit’s not available, you gotta find a new way out and it’s usually gonna involve some crude survival tactics. That’s just what happens in Gnaw. No one can hear you scream and even if they could, how much attention are they really gonna pay to it? Considering all these things, it’s no wonder this dysfunctional group of friends act the way they do toward one another. There more concerned with their own vanity and well, fucking. This is the world we live in-no one can live in the moment because anything cool they’re doing will have to be Tweeted or added to their Facebook immediately. This mentality proves fatal to most of the people in this film. Their self obsession equals their death.
Aside from the teens-in-peril stuff, there’s a lot of darkly funny moments. Who doesn’t love finding a full human finger in a meat pie? What’s that you’re eating? Tongue, is it? You can figure it out. While I doubt the killer in Gnaw(brilliantly played by Hiram Bleetman, who needed no mask to be scary) is the next in the long line of famous slashers, director Gregory Mandry has tapped into something the Brits have long given up on-good ol’ fashion horror. There’s plenty of that snobby Britishness that’s so prevalent in their comedy (I mean that a a compliment) and it’s well paired with slasher blood and guts. Gnaw isn’t the best movie on the planet for outrageousness that’s never been done, because frankly, it has very little. But as I stated, previously, it IS a fun watch if you’re down for dirty little slasher flick. The cinematography is attractive and keeps up with the action of the actors movement. Entertaining and dripping with contemporary irony, Gnaw will make you laugh and jump outta your seat like a horror movie should.
Here is a 6 minute preview of the film complete with German subtitles.