Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, The (2006)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

The Only Thing More Shocking than How it Ended, Is How it All Began.

Two young men decide to take their girlfriends with them when they enlist to serve to Vietnam and head off on a cross-country road trip. On their way through a remote part of Texas, they become the first victims of the sadistic Hewitt family.

 

I’ll be the first to admit that I got it a bit wrong with my visions of doom for the 2003 remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – it wasn’t half bad considering they were re-tooling a classic for the modern era. It stuck fairly close to the original, added a few nasty surprises (such as R. Lee Ermey as the scene-stealing Sheriff) and at least paid a bit of tribute to its origins whilst trying to get itself over with the fans. Success breeds sequels in Hollywood and it was only time before Leatherface and co. came calling again. Well they have come calling again but this time it was in a prequel to a remake! There’s not many of those lying around, is there? Having watched Leatherface and his different incarnations and interpretations upon the screen, I was interested to see how they decided to give birth to the monster. After all there has to be some starting point for the infamous killer with sewn-on faces and a chainsaw for his best friend. All of the other big horror icons have had their births and starting points mapped out (some more so than others, Freddy Kruger…) so why not Leatherface?

To say this was ‘The Beginning’ and about how things started off is a joke. There is about ten minutes of back story to Leatherface to begin the film off and then that is it. They covered pretty much the same stuff in the remake so what’s the point in rehashing old material? Here it seems like it was rushed past to get straight to the chainsaws and gore moments because that’s where the money comes from. The cannibal family is also back for more here with R. Lee Ermey reprising his role as the Sheriff, or at least not the Sheriff for the first part of the film. Once again we’re given a weak back story to how he became Sheriff and it’s pretty poor to say the least. You’d have expected the film to delve more deeply into the mindsets of these characters but no. There was such a good story hiding behind this cannibalistic family but you’re not going to get it here. All you’re going to get is a routine modern horror flick.

You know the type – sadistic, ruthless and gory as hell. Normally I’m all for a bit of blood and guts, mutilation and massacring but there’s just no point to it here. It all seems rather forced and pointless. Modern horror cinema has upped the stakes so much in the brutality stakes that each subsequent film has to be nastier and more sadistic than the last. There’s only so far that you can go before people start switching off and I am one of them here. Beating, maiming and torturing the teenagers just has no point to it here. Believe me though, they do get maimed, tortured and beaten up! I watched the unrated version and although I could still hear the echoes of the censor’s scissors cutting the film, it doesn’t leave much to the imagination. You nearly get to see (at long last I might add) just what the chainsaw can really do as Leatherface slices a guy up on a table as his girlfriend covers underneath getting drenched in blood and entrails.

I guess part of the blame in not really caring about the film lies in the fact that the story has been rushed over to get the ‘good bits’ up front and centre. The characters are just not interesting in the slightest. I couldn’t care less if Leatherface chops them up. There’s no apathy with the characters at all. Even the cannibal family doesn’t have much in the way of development. Hell usually I’m rooting for the bad guys in these films because the heroes and heroines are so bland but in this case, I’m just stood shrugging at whoever comes out on top.

R. Lee Ermey gives it his all once again as the Sheriff and he kicks ass big time. He was great in the remake but he gets a little over-exposed in this one. He’s the nastiest piece of work to come out of a horror film in a long while simply because he’s not a lumbering psycho with a mask and sharp weapon – he’s just a badass redneck with a taste for flesh and a sadistic streak that would go down a real treat in something like Hostel. Andrew Bryniarski is imposing and perfectly suited to the role of Leatherface. The film treats him with a little respect at least and he’s one aggressive, relentless and scary-looking killer. No cowering like a woman or dressing in drag for him in this one.

 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning is a banal exercise in terror and torture which serves up plenty of gut-spilling moments and stomach-churning nastiness but little else. It’s basically just a rehash of the remake which in itself was a rehash of the original. Given that the whole purpose of the film was supposedly to give Leatherface and the Hewitt family some back story, it fails miserably. In fact it doesn’t fail, it doesn’t even try.

 

 ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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