2013 sequel Texas Chainsaw 3D is riddled with problems, but by far the most bothersome is the script's completely nonsensical timeline. 1974's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - or The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as it's also referred to - is a certified classic of the horror genre, and a film so gritty and realistic that at times it really feels like the viewer is looking through a window into a world of madness. Unfortunately, its sequels aren't in the same league, to put things mildly.
1986's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 saw Tobe Hooper return to direct, and while it's not a bad film, the tone is much more comedic, and it trades in genuine scares for straight-up gore. 1990's Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3 plays things straighter, but it still mostly comes off as a pale imitation of the original. 1994's Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation is so bad that some would put it in the running for worst horror sequel ever. Skipping over the 2003 remake and its own 2006 prequel, we come to 2013's Texas Chainsaw 3D, which tried to serve as a direct sequel to the first film.
That's an admirable goal, and if done well, actually could've beat Halloween (2018) to that particular gimmick of retconning the other sequels and referencing only the original. Sadly, Texas Chainsaw 3D wasn't done well, at all. Its problems abound, but the worst is its strikingly illogical timeline.
Why Texas Chainsaw 3D's Timeline Makes No Sense
The opening of Texas Chainsaw 3D is set not long after the first film, which was released in 1974, and canonically set in August 1973. It sees an angry mob set fire to the Sawyer farmhouse, killing Leatherface's entire family, except for Loretta Sawyer and her young child Edith Rose. Loretta is then killed, with Edith Rose taken in by a couple and raised as their own. That's all well and good, until we get to the film proper. The protagonist is Heather Miller (Alexandra Daddario), and while her age isn't stated onscreen, Daddario was 25 when the film was shot, and could pass for younger.
That's where the timeline falls apart, as Heather is summoned back to Leatherface's hometown to collect an inheritance, after a grandmother she never knew she had dies. While films aren't always set in the year they come out, the grandmother's tombstone is seen, and it says she died in 2012. Predictably, it's later revealed that Heather is actually the grown-up Edith Rose. However, Edith Rose was a baby in the 1973-set opening. That would mean she should be roughly 39-years-old in 2012. If Daddario is 39, she's somehow discovered the fountain of youth.
It's a glaring plot hole of the highest order, and once one has noticed it, it's impossible to forget. Amusingly, one of the three credited writers, Adam Marcus (director of Jason Goes to Hell), has explained that the draft he penned set the film in the 1990s, which would've made perfect sense. But later changes made to the script inexplicably moved the setting to present day, leaving fans at the time of Texas Chainsaw 3D's release baffled.