Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

Liebesman’s direction is very tight, with much more suspense and atmosphere this time around. When we set down on the four teens being ravaged by the psychotic family, we can instantly gain a sense of futility and sheer dread that otherwise was lacking from the remake. And that helps because “The Beginning” is a much more entertaining entry than the remake was. The acting is better from Ermy this time around, and the basic characters fleshed out slightly more to where they’re less walking victims, and more human drawing slightly more sympathy. And it’s also a plus to watch Jordrana Brewster and Diora Baird run around screaming and giving their surefire scream queen routines. Brewster is a much more sympathetic heroine, and Baird’s “busty babe victim” role is pulled off with as much gusto it requires.

Are you ready for extreme Leatherface? Are you ready for an emo Leatherface? Are you ready for a Leatherface whose chainsaw is now an extension of his cod? Well, look no further friend! I’m one of many who considers the remake of “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” to be a poorly made, horribly acted rehash of a brutal classic, and I was one of many who was not looking forward to the pansy ass Leatherface, a departure from the vicious leatherface as saw in the original. Well, I don’t know if you can call him Leatherface, since he doesn’t’ wear a mask until the second half of the film, but he is man with mask assorted weapons. The Chainsaw massacre doesn’t come until the second half The biggest flaw, among many here, is that “The Beginning” is simply just a remake of a remake. It’s not wholly a prequel beyond discovering Leatherface’s early origins and methods.

We never learn why he’s disfigured, what made him so mad, why he loves torture, why he’s sadistic, and why he revels in wearing human flesh. Everything about him just is, and that’s enough for the writers. But not enough for me. If you’re going to call it a prequel and insist you’re explaining the origins of Leatherface, do it. Don’t pussy out on me. In this new lore from Platinum Dunes, Leatherface is more of a whiny bitch than a vicious monster. In the original films, he was a man who simply was perverse, sexually depraved, and loved wearing human skin a la Ed Gein. Now he’s a disfigured Frankenstein monster we have to tilt our heads and groan “awwww” whenever he cuts someone up and tears their skin off. Really very reflective of the times. Once again, this film now becomes “The Sheriff Hoyt Massacre” with R. Lee Ermy in his ever over the top performance, confronting four hapless teenagers in the summer of the sixties. Coming across four hippies, two of whom happen to be draft dodgers, Hoyt takes special attention toward them. Cue blatant social commentary, cue obvious symbolism, cue expected reference to Ermy’s military past, cue cheesy references altogether that miss the mark by a mile.

Platinum Dunes and director Liebesman once again misses the point of these films. Leatherface and his family are the stars, but the lure for these films is Leatherface. The chainsaw wielding merciless monster. So, why focus so heavily on a supporting character? Did I care about the victims? No. Did I care about the villains? No. Did I care if the teens got out alive? Not really. Did I want to see torture and torture sans a purpose? Not really. So what’s the damn point of the entire film? Money, of course. Gotta love money. When it’s not focusing on pure sadism, and when we’re not watching Ermy chew up the screen, the script, if there was one, revolves around Brewster’s attempts to save at least one of her friends. And the plot holes arise. One of the more ludicrous plot holes involves Brewsters character rangling a biker to help her save her friends. Why not gather the biker and his entire gang and storm the entire house? Damned if I know.

Why didn’t the biker have more than a small pistol? Damned if I know. “The Beginning” is less about the formation of a chainsaw wielding maniac and the sheer lunacy of his family, and more about how much gore and utterly ridiculous torture they can fit into only eighty minutes. Victims are driven down on, impaled, sliced in half, and dismembered with a chainsaw, while leatherface plays a secondary character the entire time, only becoming a prop when Liebesman needs splatter and pointless gore. “The Beginning” had a chance to be one of the greater horror origins in history, and it’s still just a pointless sadistic eighty minute splatter mess. Yet another entry in the torture genre that’s much more sadism and gore, and a lot less actual horror. With the exceptions of eye candy Diora Baird, and Jordana Brewster, “The Beginning” is much less at the beginning, and much more a remake of the remake.