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Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, The
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Now Natalie Maines Has Another Reason To Be Ashamed of Being From Texas"
1 stars

Before I could enter the theater for the screening of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning,” I was subjected to an unusually thorough search of all the contents of my bag by the rented security guard–in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that this was probably escalated when I responded to the demand to open my bag with “C’mon, who wants to bootleg this movie? All the kids today are into bootlegging that “Borat” thing.” Anyway, apparently not liking my answers to her questions (which were, if I recall, “Yes,” “No” and “The power cord to my laptop”), she turned to me at one point and said, in her best threatening voice, “Listen, do you want to see this movie?” and I answered, in all honesty, “Not particularly, but I kinda have to.”

This actually wasn’t as smart-assy as it may read because the 2003 remake of Tobe Hooper’s influential and still-terrifying 1974 original was arguably the worst of the current crop of pointless horror remakes because of the way that it transformed Hooper’s surprisingly smart, efficient and nerve-shredding thriller and turned it into a gory geek show that offered nothing of value to viewers other than the sight of Jessica Biel in a wet tank top. Considering how bad that one was, I had no reason to expect that this follow-up would be anything other than more of the same. And yet, the makers of this film have somehow managed to defy expectations and have come up with something even worse than the previous installment–a gross and utterly pointless exercise in bone-headed sadism that doesn’t even try to be scary for a second, preferring instead to expend its energies on trying to figure out ways to make viewers throw up.

The proof that making a genuinely scary film–in which tension and surprise are at the forefront–was the furthest thing from the minds of the filmmakers comes from the fact that this is actually a prequel to the remake that is set a few years prior to the events of that film. Prequels are almost always a dumb idea for a move because they generally tend to be the exact same film as the original with the benefit for the producers being that they can hire younger and cheaper actors to play the parts. That said, a prequel to a horror film is an exceptionally dumb idea because there is absolutely no narrative suspense as a result–it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that all the people in the cast who were in the first one are going to survive and the ones that weren’t probably aren’t going to make it to the final credits. As a result, this film is an oddly anti-cathartic experience because we know that all the bad guys, including psycho sheriff R. Lee Ermey and Leatherface himself (Andrew Brynarski), are presumably going to make it while our heroes are most likely going to be rendered into bite-sized chunks. (By the way, if anyone writes in suggesting that I should have put up a Spoiler Warning, I promise that I will post your name and e-mail for all to see and ridicule.)

One of the most idiotic things about the “Chainsaw” remake was the fact that it attempted to give some kind of half-assed backstory to Leatherface and his family to explain to viewers why he felt the need to grab young women and be-Stihl their beating hearts. This flew right in the face of the original film, which derived a lot of its power from the fact that it didn’t explain Leatherface’s motivations–he was big and monstrous and would kill you in a flash for no reason whatsoever if you happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. This time around, we get even more background material, starting with the birth of Leatherface (in a scene that plays like a demented version of “Fast Food Nation”) and going on to show us how he acquired his fake face, his chainsaw skills and his first official kills. We also learn more about his family, especially the details of how R. Lee Ermey became a sheriff and how the clan developed a taste for human flesh. (Without going into details, I believe we now know why they never found Col. Blake’s body on “M.A.S.H.”) None of this serves any real purpose other than to pad out a scanty story with additional ickiness.

The plot is basically the same as always–a group of hot young things (Jordana Brewster, Diora Baird, Taylor Handley and Lee Tergesen) are driving through the back roads of Texas, get waylaid and spend the next hour or so being tortured in various ways before finally being gorily dispatched. This time around, one gets killed with a chainsaw, another gets killed with a chainsaw, a third gets killed with a chainsaw, a fourth gets killed with a chainsaw and, just to mix things up a bit, one gets a throat slashing, another is sledgehammered and a couple more are shotgunned. (In case you think the math isn’t quite adding up, the film takes pains to bring in new characters whenever the time comes for someone new to get splattered.) All of these sequences are done in the most artless manner possible and become so repetitive that after a while, even the graphic sight of a chainsaw to the guts (something which Hooper never actually showed in his original film) begins to elicit yawns more than screams.

Aside from the welcome presence of the ever-popular R. Lee Ermey, who delivers his foul-mouthed tirades with an energy and unabashed glee that is otherwise in desperately short supply, there is nothing that “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning” has to offer viewers than the ability to waste $10 and 90 minutes in the ugliest and most vile manner possible. In fact, I can confidently say that this is easily the worst film that I have ever seen with the word “chainsaw” in the title. Hell, it is pretty far ahead in the running for being the worst film ever to feature the words “Texas,” “beginning” and “the” as well.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15255&reviewer=389
originally posted: 10/06/06 00:28:20
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Fantastic Fest For more in the 2006 Fantastic Fest series, click here.

User Comments

4/01/16 David Hollingsworth Unnecessary gore fest 1 stars
1/24/10 Chad Dillon Cooper A dog from snout to tail. 1 stars
10/13/09 American Slasher Goddess The best sequel and ten times better then the remake 4 stars
1/06/09 FrankNFurter Deeply sadistic,misanthropic celluloid diarrhea.For those that thought Hostel was tame. 1 stars
12/01/07 Bnorm Watch it for the gore; if you expect a story you'll be dissapointed. 4 stars
7/10/07 Total Crap No It wasn't good. It's pathetic and acts on its sole purpose of disturbing viewers. 1 stars
3/19/07 chris f best one yet the reviewers are idiots 5 stars
2/26/07 Mike What did u guys bashing this expect? The crowbar seen was SWEET! except for that girl! lol 5 stars
2/15/07 Indrid Cold Maybe I'm off base, but I thought it was the most intense TCM yet, and I've seen them all. 3 stars
1/21/07 David A. The liberals tried to turn it into an anti-war movie. Dumb. 1 stars
1/16/07 rocky This wasn't clever, was pointlessly brutal, with no redeeming value. TCM 1 & 2 were great. 1 stars
12/12/06 mig Vulgar, Depressing, and worst of all...Boring! 1 stars
12/02/06 cd lame snuff film 1 stars
11/01/06 Ben This TCM was no where near as good as the 2003 release... 3 stars
10/26/06 Hien Gore does not equal horror. Not much of a story. Truly a disappointment more than anything 2 stars
10/20/06 cody a gory and intense movie, with very few scares and shocks, but ok way one hour and 30 min 3 stars
10/19/06 Shiba wat the hell r u guys expecting from this film. ofcourse its going2b horror not romantic! 5 stars
10/19/06 Freddy Krueger Why bash this? Of course it's mostly just gore. What the f*ck did u expect? It's not drama! 5 stars
10/17/06 Fewell The gore was great, just as the remakes, but that is all you get, don't expect to much 4 stars
10/14/06 mr.mike extreme violence , some suspense , ermey is A+ 4 stars
10/13/06 michael 1st was better but this was still pretty good 4 stars
10/12/06 Jessica anyone giving this a bad rating shouldn't be watching horror. this is as good as they get! 5 stars
10/10/06 matthew vandervort fuck my eye socket and shit on my cat. slaughter my nob any day 1 stars
10/10/06 matthew vandervort a missing phantom element im not sure what it was but aside from that GREAT ~ disturbing 5 stars
10/09/06 phil the gore kept it interesting even while the story was unimaginative and illogical 4 stars
10/06/06 Mike Intense, graphic, relentlessly heart-pounding. This is the definition of horror. 5 stars
10/06/06 Pritchett As if the last four TCMs didn't suck enough... 1 stars
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  06-Oct-2006 (R)
  DVD: 16-Jan-2007



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