Friday, June 2, 2017

Film Review—The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (Review)
United States/2006
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It's more of the same and it fails to deliver an effective origin story for Leatherface, but it's not bad."

During a cross-country road trip, two brothers and their girlfriends bump heads with a family of violent killers...

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning is a prequel to The Texas Chainsaw Massacrethe remake. The film follows a very similar formula, though. The story begins with the birth of Thomas Hewitt, who is popularly known as Leatherface, but it skips over his entire childhood, which is disappointing. Anyway, after Thomas commits his first murder, his uncle/father-figure, Charlie Hewitt (R. Lee Ermey), kills the only sheriff in the area, then he takes his role. That's about all you get for the Hewitt family. The rest of the film follows a group of friends on their last trip before the men head out to Vietnam. You have Eric and his girlfriend Chrissie (Jordana Brewster), and Dean and his girlfriend Bailey. This group ends up at the Hewitt house where they're tortured by the family. That's about it. I like the classic Texas Chainsaw formula, but it is a little too similar to the remake. The ending was also underwhelming.

I enjoyed this movie. However, that might be because I love The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The original film is one of my all-time favorite movies and I even enjoyed the remake quite a bit. This film matches the dark, gritty tone of the remake. It is loud, bloody, and sadistic. There are some suspenseful sequences here and there, and there is plenty of blood. The film relies on jump-scares a little too much, though. The bigger issues come from the plot. Despite its subtitle, this isn't much of a prequel. I mean, yes, it technically takes place before the remake, but it just doesn't feel like it offers too much in terms of character. For an origin story, you don't really get to know Thomas. Hell, I'd argue this was more of a film for Charlie than Leatherface. Also, there isn't a lot of buildup. There is no sense of discovery or dread, it just sort of explodes into this conflict.

The acting can be hit-or-miss. For the most part, Jordana Brewster performs well as the leading lady. R. Lee Ermey is great, too—he was born for the role. Taylor Handley often struggles, especially during the first half of the film. If you liked the style of the remake, you'll like this film's visuals. The shaky-cam was a little annoying, but I might have only noticed it because I had a headache while I was watching it. The music was okay. I liked it, but it doesn't have that industrial oomph from the original. The screenplay was written by Sheldon Turner and directed by Jonathan Liebesman. The writing borrows heavily from the other films, which is okay on the surface, but it fails to deliver as a prequel. Liebesman is a solid horror director, though.

Overall, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning is a good movie. It's more of the same and it fails to deliver an effective origin story for Leatherface, but it's not bad. It's certainly a lot better than that 3D movie that came out a few years ago... Anyway, if you liked the remake, I think you'll enjoy this one.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

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