Texas Chainsaw Massacre:The Beginning review

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[Texas Chainsaw Massacre:The Beginning]:
Plot:On one last road trip before they're sent to serve in Vietnam, two friends and their girlfriends get into an accident that calls their local sheriff to the scene. Thus begins a terrifying experience where the teens are taken to a secluded house of horrors, where a young, would-be killer is being nurtured.

Cast: Jordana Brewster, Taylor Handley, Lew Temple, R. Lee Ermey, Andrew Bynarski, Matthew Bomer, Diora Baird, Heather Kafka, Marietta Marich, Terrence Evans, Lee Tergesen, Cyia Batten.

My Thoughts:This formula has officially grown tiresome.

Review:If there's one common thread that holds the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" films together other than leatherface himself, it's the group of young innocents caught up in a bad situation where they are captured, imprisoned, and tortured physically and mentally by Leatherface and his deranged family. That formula remains the same, although the faces of the young kids in these situations are always changing. Then again...maybe that's the problem. Sure this is a prequel, and not a sequel so of course it was going to follow the basic "TCM" rules and plot outline leading up to "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" itself...but writer Sheldon Turner really follows the blueprint of this series too tightly and doesn't take many risks with the story if any. The basic jist of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre:The Beginning" is backtracking the events which led to "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", such as Leatherface's birth and the origins of a few of his relatives. One would think after the carnage this family has wreaked in 6 films total that the answers to said questions would be startling revelations, Instead they play out without any imagination and at some point, if you're a good guesser, or base your opinion on one scene in particular from the 2003 remake...you'll figure out how an infant baby grew up to become the monster known as Leatherface. R. Lee Ermey's character of Sheriff Hoyt is kept in the spotlight more than anyone in this film, which is another problem. Sure Ermey gives one of the films best performances...but "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" movies are generally supposed to be about the chainsaw weilding Leatherface. Instead we don't see him much in this film until the final showdown which takes place during nightfall. Ermey's character of Sheriff Hoyt has alot of screentime in this film, and his origins are revealed as well, as to how he became sheriff. I give Turner credit for Hoyt's part of the story as it is pretty funny in a twisted way how he became sheriff but it soon wears thin after awhile due to too much time being spent harping on it. The film also backtracks the town itself, and how it's population rapdily began declining which forced the butchershop where Leatherface worked to shut down, much to the dismay of Leatherface and Hoyt, who himself..along with his family made a pact to never desert their place of birth. The kids in this film are played by Jordana Brewster, Taylor Handley, Diora Baird, and Matthew Bomer. They come across the deranged family during a cross country drive, a last hoo-rah if you will before Bomer's character Eric and Handley's character Dean go off to Vietnam. Brewster's character Chrissie and Baird's character Bailey don't want them to fight in the war and Dean himself is having second thoughts as well. Much to the dismay of his uber-patriotic brother Eric. This is a constantly evolving storyline between the four which in itself is the stronger and more interesting part of the story. Unfortunately it really isn't expanded long enough before the car wreck ensues, a car wreck caused by an angry biker woman chasing the kids down the highway. This is where sheriff Hoyt comes in, and in the usual fashion takes the kids into "custody", but Chrissie during the accident is thrown from the car, and watches Hoyt drive off with her friends. Of course suspecting something isn't right when Hoyt coldly blasts the biker woman with his shotgun, she decides to follow them. Normally after everything is set up so nicely, a film should take off in a more intense direction. Instead "TCM:The Beginning" falls into the trap of the previous "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" films, with the characters being tied up, insulted, and beaten as the family trapsing's around the house as if nothing out of the ordinary is happening. While R. Lee Ermey's dialogue is very sharp and harsh in the scenes where he tortures and plays mind games with the two brothers Eric and Dean, it all begins to get really old really fast as there's not another interesting subplot to shift back and forth to as things begin to slow down in one area of the movie. How long can we watch sheriff Hoyt revel in the helpless position he has these kids in? How long can we watch the other deranged members of the family just walk around the house and argue with one another? While extremely high levels of violence and sheer cold blooded brutality are certainly present in "TCM:The Beginning", the movie has little to fall back on as far as story is concerned. Which shouldn't be the case since this is a prequel and the story should hold alot of new revelations and interesting situations. New Line could've re-titled this movie to "Texas Chainsaw Massacre IV", reshot a few scenes, and had themselves a bonafide sequel. That's how unfulfilling and thin the plot is. When Jordana's character Chrissie manages to hitch a ride to the families house with the boyfriend of the dead biker chick, things finally begin to pick up even though the strong predictability factor remains and the intensification of the action comes way too late. Jordana Brewster pretty much makes this movie on the good guys side of the spectrum. As strong of a villain as Ermey is, Jordana neutralizes his performance as the scared but smart heroine of the film. The climax is also where we finally see Leatherface go on a long-awaited rampage with his chainsaw as he disposes of plenty of people in typical chainsaw weilding fashion, but once they've got us hooked, and we're really into it and frothing for more, the picture concludes. "TCM:The Beginning" basically saves the best for last, and except for one pretty major shock at the very end...the film always seemed too afraid to take any risks with it's story. While director Jonathan Liebesman shows a flashy and very good looking directorial style throughout the movie, he...nor the solid performances by Jordana Brewster and R. Lee Ermey can make up for a lackadasical and dull script churned out by writer Sheldon Turner which waits too long to give the audience what they came to see.

Pros:Strong performances by J. Brewster and R.Lee Ermey. Good gore scenes, lots of blood and brutality. A strong finish and great camera angles during the action scenes.

Cons:A very dull and thin story, high predictability factor, not enoguh leatherface doing his chainsaw thing.

Overall:A mostly unsatisfying installment with a few good moments here and there.

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