The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

2006, Movie, R, 84 mins


News flash: Horror icon Leatherface was an abused child, and if other kids had just been nicer when he was an awkward, self-loathing tyke, there never would have been even one chainsaw massacre, let alone six. That's the sum total of what this coarse prequel to 2003's remake of THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE has to offer. That, and an explanation as to how murderous Sheriff Hoyt got his badge and uniform, plus lots of tedious running, hiding and screaming interspersed with sadistically unpleasant — which is not to say imaginative — sequences in which various ill-fated individuals are tortured and killed. Texas, 1939: A slaughterhouse meatpacker collapses at work and dies while delivering a deformed baby. Later, a woman picking through the trash for edible scraps finds the unfortunate infant wrapped in brown paper and brings him home. A montage of fading photos, newspaper clippings and doctors' reports fills in the next 29 years: The cast-off child, Tommy Hewitt, is not only deformed but prone to outbursts of rage and self-mutilation, and eventually goes to work at the slaughterhouse with his adoptive father. 1969: The slaughterhouse is about to close and the town around it has already withered and just about died. Only the Hewitts — mother Luda Mae (Marietta Marich), her husband (R. Lee Ermey), Uncle Monty (Terrence Evans) and Tommy (Andrew Bryniarski) — remain, rattling around a huge, rundown house in the middle of nowhere's nowhere. Tommy murders his nasty boss (Tim De Zarn) and the local sheriff thoughtfully picks up Tommy's stepdad so Tommy's arrest can be as civilized as possible; Tommy's stepdad responds by killing him and stealing his identity — Sheriff Hoyt. Meanwhile, four young people are on a collision course with their gory destinies: Eric (Matt Bomer) is en route to a second tour of duty in Vietnam, accompanied by little brother Dean (Taylor Handley), who's just been called up. Unbeknownst to Eric and his wife, Chrissie (Jordana Brewster), Dean and his girlfriend, Bailey (Diora Baird), instead intend to flee across the border to Mexico. But after a run-in with local bikers Holden and Alex (Lee Tergesen, Cyia Batten), they wind up in "Sheriff Hoyt"'s patrol car, and thence to the house of horrors. Who will survive and what will be left of them? If you don't have a pretty good idea, this is not the movie for you. If you do, rest assured you've seen it all before. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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