The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

This is a prequel to the reboot of 2003. It uses the same bad guys, but we replace all of the victims with new people to kill. The style of filming, the colors, the effects, and everything else is pretty much the same. Really the draw for this movie is to see the origins of the people we already know will become terrible human beings.

Turns out, they started off as pretty terrible people. Thanks for reading.

Oh, I should probably go into it a bit more. Well, we learn about the horrible life that the man who would become Leatherface (the big, bad killer who never talks and wields a chainsaw to kill everyone) and why he winds up becoming what he becomes. I suppose there is a bit of sympathy that you gain for the tortured villain.

R. Lee Ermey appears in the same role as before, but we learn about the unconventional way he became the town sheriff. He still yells a lot - even more than in the first one, really - and is generally pretty lewd and creepy, but that's the character. He plays that guy well, and I have some confidence that he is not really that creepy in real life. Gee, I hope he isn't.

The female lead this time is Jordana Brewster, who you may remember as Dom's sister in the Fast and Furious series. She's pretty and pretty dumb in this movie. The nature of this type of movie is that it tries to pull the victims out of their comfort zone and make them seem overwhelmed with the actions on screen. As such, the audience identifies with them and tries to figure out what they would do in the same situation. Most of the time, no one would do what these characters do.

Two brothers and their girlfriends are on their way to report to report for the draft to go fight in 'Nam. Both brothers do not want to go, but neither has told the other that they are having second thoughts. This plays itself out while R. Lee grills them about it with his own stories about being deployed. It's actually more of a sub-plot than the original reboot movie had, and it adds some depth to the characters and movie. Tossed in the mix are a couple of bad news bikers who get caught up in the horror. As you might expect, they are generally outmatched by a chainsaw-wielding madman who sews faces together and wears them as a mask so he can look more normal.

This movie wound up grossing less than half of what the original did, and it's a shame, as it is a better movie than the movie it is a prequel for. I mean, yes, it is mostly boilerplate killing and gross-out, but the additions make enough complexity that it's actually got some reasonable plot. The original (reboot) movie was interesting enough, but it really didn't have any depth at all. This has at least some. Not much, but some.

Direction was good - unobtrusive.
Acting was pretty good.
Dialogue was not great, but whatevs.
Storyline was augmented with decentness.
Effects were still gross, but good.

3.5/5 

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