The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
by Gary Schultz
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The next installment in the modern chainsaw massacre series is a prequel titled “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning”. Now where should I begin with this one? To sum it up briefly this film dark, gross and gory as hell. It’s also silly, predictable and has very few if any redeeming values for the hero’s journey. But who cares about the hero, this is supposed to be the story of how Leatherface our favorite mentally challenged chainsaw wielding serial killer came to be, right? That would be the case except only the first ten minutes deals with Leatherface as a child and the rest of the film is basically glorified moments of Leatherfaces first violent killing spree. Fun stuff but nothing-new here.
The story starts off when two brothers (Taylor Handley & Matthew Bomer) and their girlfriends (Jordana Brewster & Diora Baird) go on one last road trip before they’re sent to serve in Vietnam. Along the way they intersect paths with some strange locals and rowdy bikers. A confrontation with one of the biker’s results and a pretty nasty accident. Enter Sheriff Hoyt played again by R. Lee Ermey posing as a cop who kidnaps the accident victims and brings them back to the now infamous family house where Leatherface and his family of cannibals lives. The story picks up from there pretty much via formula of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
There’s plenty of homage to the original and this prequel is actually probably closer the original than the remake. I just struggle to see the point of this film besides some good scares, which is fine on the surface but doesn’t give us any depth to make this film great or superior in any way to the original films. Very little new information about Leatherface is revealed and I won’t spoil what little is revealed here. The film glorifies his first killing spree, the first time he kills with a chainsaw and the first time he puts on a mask of flesh. The problem is glorifying these events makes them seem more like a violent comic book movie than a truly scary horror film. The original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” has almost no blood in it and it’s scary as hell because it’s shot like a snuff film or a gritty documentary. You’re there and it’s violent and violence shouldn’t be glorified it should be feared in order to be truly affective in horror. With that said this film does have some scares, and one of my favorite FX shots of recent times, a single 1 second shot of the knife filleting the face of a victim that looked pretty damn real. “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning” is a fun horror movie to see around Halloween time if you’re in the mood for some scares but I wouldn’t look anymore into it than that.
Here’s what we’ve learned so far. Overall I can’t stand the horror remakes and for some reason I’m more forgiving of a crappy sequel than a crappy remake. It would seem they are working a new trilogy of chainsaw films to compliment the original trilogy. Guess that leaves “The Next Generation” sequel from the 90’s as the bastard stepchild of the franchise. More gore is fun but doesn’t make a better film. And I’m not sure that I want to know Leatherface’s history and how he came to be. It might be scarier just thinking of him as a huge lumbering killer that doesn’t really speak only kills with no reason. And chainsaws are cool. Period.
Gary Schultz is a filmmaker living in Chicago, IL.
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