Have you ever watched a movie for the first time and felt like you've already watched it? Did you think the previous version was better? Did you think that despite all the gore, violence, girls in tight clothing and an extremely twisted family that you'd be better off watching something else? Enter The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.
This prequel takes us back before the days of Jessica Biel to the murderous rampage that started everything off. Following the demise of a small Texas town due to economic conditions, a freak show at a nearby meat processing plant goes crazy and murders his boss. To keep the family together, the head of this freak show's household decides that the best way to survive is to resort to eating helpless victims that cross their paths. And a group of four young people meet their untimely fate hours later...
This latest incarnation of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a prequel because the story prescribes that it be - however, in all other respects it is just another remake of the exact same thing. Four unsuspecting kids get dragged to a house by a "sheriff" and eventually meet Leatherface. One sexy female (replacing Jessica Biel is Jordana Brewster) is the heroine who tries to save her friends, but ends up becoming a victim herself. After an unpleasant dinner sequence she manages to escape to a nearby slaughterhouse, which I'm pretty sure happened in the previous picture as well.
Seeing the origins of how the family became the murderers that they became is sort of interesting, but not necessarily believable. Why did the "sheriff" (R. Lee Ermey) suddenly become psychotic? How come his mother never laid down the law? The transition of this family from social oddities to murderous cannibals never really makes sense, and that is the only fraction of originality about The Beginning. Everything else is exactly the same.
The Beginning does have some good gory sequences, including the moment where Leatherface removes his first face for his own personal use. There are a few other pretty nasty moments as well. Unfortunately, aside from gore this latest film offers nothing new.
2003's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was better in terms of developing mood, developing its characters and creating a sense of suspense. This new version, since we know it's a prequel, is completely predictable and just not as well done as its predecessor. Compared to most other horror movies that have found their way to theaters this year, it is certainly decent, but what's the point?
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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