Sunday, October 8, 2006
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)
This movie is a big letdown for a die-hard fan of the original and brilliant Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning is completely dumbed down for mass audiences and, with a few exceptions, is a total bore. Horror movies should not lull me into a bleary eyed boredom, which is what this particular one did.
This film is a prequel to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake (for the record, I thought the remake was ok) that was released in 2003 and bears no resemblance to the original film. This movie explores the origins of the Hewitt family and begins with the slaughter house being condemned by the Texas Board of Health. The Hewitt family is out of jobs and they are the only family to stay in the otherwise deserted rural town. They decide to stay and continue to use their knowledge of butchery, this time on fresh human meat. Elsewhere, two couples are on a road trip before the two guys go off to the Vietnam War. Passing through rural Texas, they end up at the wrong place at the wrong time and into the clutches of the sadistic Hewitt family. You can guess where it goes from there...
This story had so much potential to tell the origins of the family, but it falls short. It barely focuses on Leatherface's childhood, though we do find out he was born with a disfigured face. It is enjoyable to see Sheriff Hoyt (R. Lee Ermey is always a pleasure) again and the beginnings of his sadistic glory as a sheriff. The rest of the family just seems to follow orders from him which seems a little weak in explaining how they turn into such brutal killers. A few of the killings are pretty brutal - bashing in of skulls, smashing of knee caps and shins, bear traps, skinnings and the infamous chainsaw - but for a high body count, this movie still seems to drag.
Leatherface, or Tommy as he's referred to by his family, makes a few appearances, but it seems as if Hoyt is more the sadist. Leatherface just follows Hoyt's orders most of the time, which gets pretty boring and is a huge disservice to the ferocity of the original Leatherface.
The filmmaker and editor could have done a better job creating an ominous atmosphere, but there are far too many quick cuts and shaky cam shots. There are many shots/scenes that are totally cribbed from the original and the remake, which make the movie completely predictable. It's as if the filmmakers couldn't come up with any of their own ideas and had to heavily "borrow" from the earlier films. To me, this is just plain laziness mixed with a heavy lack of creativity.
The characters themselves are pretty one-dimensional and dull. Unlike the original TCM, I didn't care if they lived or died. Also, the music in the film is typical of a modern horror movie...because of the music you can see a scare coming a mile away. I don't think I jumped or was frightened once throughout this whole disappointment of a movie. I was so bored....
This just goes to show that Hollywood has no clue what the horror viewer wants and is just mass marketing this junk to 12 and 13 year olds (yes, a few were in attendance at the showing I went to). Horror fans, if you like typical Hollywood drivel, then you will lap this up. If, like me, you enjoy your horror a little more intelligent and engaging and like the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre, skip this horrible excuse for a horror movie.