The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

This could have been Leatherface’s childhood, a disturbing story of a handicapped boy in rural Texas in the Fifties. Instead, it is a rerun of a familiar story – two brothers in their twenties, with attractive girlfriends, get lost in the sticks and end up in a Gothic farmhouse, where a family of psychos torture and eat them.

Well, it isn’t quite like that. The brothers and the girls are right, but the reason they end up as larder kill for Leatherface and his “uncle”, a seriously screwed up individual, who murdered the last cop in the district and took his identity and uniform, is because of a car crash. They hit a cow, going flat out, being pursued by a chick on a motorbike with a sawn off shotgun. In the Texan outback crazies are three a dime.

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During the credit sequence you learn of Thomas’s birth on the floor of an abattoir. The baby is considered so hideous and malformed, it is dumped in the garbage, where a poor white woman finds him and takes him home. He grows up into an immensely strong young man, who can’t speak and wears a soft leather mask to hide his deformity. He works at the abattoir until it is closed down by the authorities and afterwards lives with his uncle and aunt, where he spends his time in the cellar, which has been decked out with all the equipment required for killing, skinning, gutting and preparing an animal for the butcher. The only difference is there are no animals anymore, only people, and you wonder whether Leatherface can tell the difference.

The four victims are stock slasher fodder, good looking, sexy enough, fit and loud screamers. This is supposed to be 1969 and the boys are off to Vietnam, but they don’t look right. The girls are wearing yesterday’s fashion, so 2005, and the boys could have walked straight out of last summer’s Fat Face catalogue. Their car, a 4x4 Jeep thing, probably hadn’t been built before the millennium.

None of that matters, really, because this is a torture flick, which isn’t frightening so much as horrible. Although the script is lame, the direction by Jonathan Liebesman is intense and focused. The film looks terrific, which is annoying, because you want to hate it. Suddenly, post Saw, violence has become bloodier, darker, more manic and without mercy. The glorification of the serial killer reaches new heights when you are dealing with mental retards. Beyond ugly is nasty and beyond nasty is the Texas Chainsaw mob.

There is a flaw in the storyline. If The Beginning is how it all started, you know it will continue, which means what odds on this lot escaping with their lives? This is the prequel. There is an awful lot of killing to be done before The End.

Reviewed on: 13 Oct 2006
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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning packshot
How a disfigured youth in the Texan outback became a serial killer.
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Director: Jonathan Liebesman

Writer: Sheldon Turner

Starring: Jordana Brewster, Taylor Handley, Diora Baird, Matthew Bomer, Lee Tergesen, R. Lee Ermey, Andrew Bryniarski, Terrence Evans, Kathy Lamkin, Marietta Marich, Cyia Batten

Year: 2006

Runtime: 91 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre