Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)
Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman
Written by: Sheldon Turner
Starring: Jordana Brewster, Taylor Handley, R. Lee Ermey, Diora Baird, Matt Bomer, Andrew Bryniarski, Terrence Evans, Marietta Marich, Kathy Lamkin, Emily Kaye, John Laroquette (narration)
Well. First off, I en't seen any of the other Texas Chainsaw movies. I do, however, know enough about them to understand what was going on in this film (I have seen a version of the original reenacted by bunnies). On that level, anyway.
It was kind of difficult to tell what was going on because the film was so dark and the camerawork was so shaky. Everything was very ambiguous, a technique which worked very well in Rings, but was maddening and very hard on the eyes in this. It was like trying to see through a pole or something. Very frustrating. Gave me a headache, actually.
Anyway, the whole thing felt very forced. It didn't have any flow. In it, a group of chainsaw fodder on their way to enlist in the army run afoul of the Hewitt family, and then get tortured to death for the next hour and a half. Fun stuff. It was actually the same plot as the House of Wax remake, but it didn't have any wax. Sad. (House of Wax kind of looked better, too. Visually, this was more along the lines of Hills Have Eyes. Very shaky and hard to tell exactly what was going on. I would compare it to Devil's Rejects (the only other film I've seen in this particular bastard of the horror genre) but Rob Zombie is technically more competent than these people)
Anyway, I'll leave poor Jonathan alone, because he did make Rings, which was very good and very scary and a lot better than Ring Two. Instead, I'll go to work on the actors.
Obviously, they were bad. They're always bad (no Jamie Lee Curtis today...). Of course, they didn't do too much in this, 'cept scream and die. Anyway, I didn't think they were especially good looking either, so they were a total waste of time. The people on the other side, the Massacrists, were pretty good (not especially attractive, but at least they were half decent). I mean, R. Lee Ermey keeps on doing his Full Metal Jacket thing, making a guy do push ups, verbally abusing people, fondling his parts.
Another problem: This didn't actually offer any explanation of why these people did the things that they did. They just did them things, with no rhyme or reason. I want motives, dammit! Being in the war is not an excuse for eating the Sheriff, and being born in a Slaughterhouse is not a good reason for chainsawing your boss. I was half hoping for at least a psychological study of a disturbed child, but nope. All I got were severed legs and that mockingbird song.
No matter. I thought the music was about the only good thing in the movie, strangely. Actually, it had pretty good sound in general. You have to have good sound for a movie about chainsaws, I mean, Christ. Come on.
And what's the deal with Texas? Yeah, okay, for us Yankees up here, I guess it's pretty scary. They have the electric chair and all, but all these modern "American Gothics", as they're called, are set down South, in the desert somewhere. With hideously obese people. I'm sure I've seen hideously obese people somewhere... (I mean in one of these movies. Of course, living in Dartmouth, you see hideously obese people everywhere). And it's all about the Family. Rip off of the original Chainsaw I guess.
It just didn't seem to have any substance. It was all just build up to first Chainsaw movie. Well, I guess this is actually a prequel to the remake, isn't it. Whatever. Same thing. Anyway, yeah, you know it en't going to have a happy ending. The girl en't going to escape, and she en't going to kill old Leatherface. She's gonna git chainsawed. And she does. It's totally predictable, just like Revenge of the Sith. Stupid bloody prequels. They're worse than sequels. They really are. The end just left you feeling completely dissatisfied. Much like the end of Evita, but worse. More blood, anyway.
((There, that should be the tagline. "With more blood than Evita." How sad would that be?))