Film Review - The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

Starring - Jordana Brewster, Taylor Handley, R. Lee Ermey, Diora Baird, Matt Bomer, Andrew Bryniarski | Directed by Jonathan Liebesman | New Line DVD WS Unrated 91min 2006

Review By Xmortis

This is our final visit to Texas for now, and we once more must have a run in with the chainsaw killer known as Leatherface as we get his origin in the remake series. So sit back with your pot of chili, and let's take this trip together that may have some spoilers.

In 1939 a deformed baby is born in a slaughterhouse and is quickly thrown away in the trash can out back were Luda May Hewitt rescues it and takes it home to raise as her own. Flash to 1969, and the small Texas town is dying as the baby grows up to be Thomas Hewitt, working for the very same slaughterhouse that threw him away just some 30 years before. Brothers Eric and Dean, along with their girlfriends Chrissie and Bailey are on their way to be dropped off to go to Vietnam as Thomas kills his old boss and his Uncle Charlie kills the sheriff to protect his nephew and becomes Sheriff Hoyt. The Hewitt family stays in the town and makes a vow that they will do whatever it takes to keep the family farm, including eating human flesh to never go hungry. Eric and crew get in a wreck as a female biker tries to rob them. This brings Sheriff Hoyt who kills the biker and takes Eric, Dean and Bailey under custody and to the Hewitt farm. Chrissie comes to the rescue with the help of the leader of the biker gang. But one by one they start meeting an end at the hands of Leatherface who ends up cutting Eric's face off and taking off his leather strap mask to truly live up to what he is to become. Finally, after being caught and watching her loved ones get killed Chrissie escapes or so she thinks.

This prequel to the remake is better all the way around, offering a better story and more likeable cast of characters making for a more enjoyable view. The plot shows how the Hewitts became the killing cannibals and how two brothers and their girlfriends became the first full victims of the clan. Andrew Bryniarski plays Leatherface again and marks the only actor so far to play the character twice. Once more he makes Leatherface just a typical cold blooded killer, but in this one they do add that his family pushed him to be the chainsaw butcher. Leatherface wears a leather strap over the bottom part of his face most the movie and only puts on a human flesh mask towards the end. When he puts the skin mask on, he's more Leatherface looking then the mask from the film before this. R. Lee Ermey plays Sheriff Hoyt once more and shows just how he became sheriff. He is a much more developed character this time around, and there is less of a yelling, overdone performance from Ermey making this a good solid showing for the aging actor. In fact all the acting this time around is well done and so is the dialogue and story making for a film where you care about the leads and want to see them live. Both lead females played by Jordana Brewster (Chrissie) and Diora Baird (Baily) are likeable and you find yourself caring if they live or die. The same goes for the brothers played by Matt Bomer and Taylor Handley. The film is also packed with enough chainsaw kills that it should keep gorehounds pretty pleased as the saw is rammed through multiple chests, making this one really worth the unrated version purchase. The gore is better done and has some really gruesome moments. The downside to this film is the plot of Leatherface being born in a slaughterhouse and thrown away in the trash to later come back and work that very slaughterhouse. It seems a little silly and only for shock value. But even with this one dumb moment, this is a good sequel that is worth a watch.

DVD extras include commentary, deleted scenes, trailers and a behind the scenes documentary. Nice extras for a fun gory horror flick.

While this is a prequel to a so-so remake, it does show heart and respect to the source material and the result is a film that is gritty, downbeat and a whole lot better then the film that came before it. If you like your Leatherface as a mindless killing machine brute who has a chip on his shoulder, then this is one you will want to see.

This is the last stop here in Texas. I hope you enjoyed your time with the Sawyer/Hewitt clan and with me, Xmortis, as we took a look at the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise and the many faces of Leatherface. In 2012 Lionsgate is putting out "Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3-D" and rest assured that when it hits the home media market, I'll bring you that review.