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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning Reviews

Reviewed By: Jeremy Wheeler

What's funny about Texas Chainsaw films is that they basically follow the same general premise: unsuspecting youngsters stumble upon this crazy, messed-up backwoods family that wants to kill and eat them. So here comes Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning to tie up all the knots and try and give the whys and hows of what made this family the way they are. So does it succeed? Absolutely not. Does it deliver the shocks? Oh yes, in some rather blunt and truly effective moments of cruel violence. So is it worth a look? Yes and no, depending on one's taste for the new school of big-screen sadism. As far as the prequel is concerned, the film wallows in sheer laziness. Any pivotal moments of Leatherface truly becoming one with the ol' saw are thrown away as if they weren't really important. By the same rationale, the audience is made to believe that the family is screwed up simply because of its patriarch -- in this case, R. Lee Ermey. When it comes down to it, the movie is simply a stage to showcase how messed in the head this guy is, although zero explanation is even attempted to say why this is. "Okay, the meatpacking plant closed, so now it's time to show the world what this family means -- oh yeah, and we're all going to start eating humans from now on. Okay, kids?" It's here that the flaws of this remade franchise come to a head, as the filmmakers are now stuck with a chain-saw family that has none of the screwed-up dynamics of the original, which leaves Ermey as the lone nut ordering everyone around. This fact becomes even more evident by the time the production finally tries to undertake a redo of the famous dinner scene from the original (note: see laziness quote above). And as for the far too modernized teens, it's nice to see the writers try to give them some sort of backstory, but it's maddening that the characters aren't even given a chance to fight back against their tormentors -- especially when one is trained to do so. Thus, the film gives its hand away -- this is mean, nasty filmmaking that offers zero release for its audience, other than providing them with sudden jolts of brutal violence to keep them awake. On a plus note, the score by Steve Jablonsky sets a wonderful monster movie tone that deserves a better home than this.