Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

I have always maintained that the less blood there is spilt in a horror film the scarier I tend to find it. I usually plump for supernatural horror although once in a while I am not adverse to the odd slasher film.

PLOT: Brothers Eric (Matt Bomer) and Dean (Taylor Handley) are taking a final road trip across America with their respective girlfriends Chrissie (Jordana Brewster) and Bailey (Diora Baird) before enlisting in the US army. After getting into an altercation with a group of bikers the friends are arrested by the head of a psychotic family posing as the local sheriff (R. Lee Ermey)….. END PLOT

The plot of Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginnings is essentially an origins story for Leatherface and although it rigidly sticks to the traditional format it is very well executed.

There are fives things that scare the life out of me and “psychotic murderous hillbilly families” have a spot on this particular list. I would do absolutely anything for my family and I consider myself to be reasonably sane. The fact that a family of psychos have the same values as me when it comes to protecting their loved ones scares me and it is why I find these types of films so unsettling – a family of blood lusting crazies is much scarier than just one.

Sheriff Hoyt (R. Lee Emery) is the head of the Hewitt family. Leatherface may have the chainsaw but the Sheriff pulls the chord. Emery was on great form and had some wonderfully dark comedic lines scattered throughout the film.

I will confess that Matt Bomer is my sole reason for purchasing this dvd. I love him in White Collar and I was as relieved as I was surprised that I did not see any element of Neal Caffrey when I was watching the film. This bodes well for his career which will surely take off with The Normal Heart in 2014.

The poor victims are all young, attractive and are killed by Leatherface and his arsenal of sharp instruments in various creative sadistic ways. Leatherface always keeps the audience on his toes as he tends to switch from being a lumbering retard to a stealthy ninja.  This bizarrely makes the film quite tense as you cannot predict which Leatherface will be in any given scene.

The captives were not killed immediately and Sheriff Hoyt enjoying toying with the brothers for quite some time. This was clever as the psychological torture which preceded the bloodshed really ramped up the tension and emotion.

The killings were violent but they remained grounded and within the borders of reality. Once you have to suspend belief with a horror film it loses its momentum.  There was lots of blood and some very gory moments but it was in keeping with typical slasher fare.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning should have been a traditional throwaway ninety minute slasher but it was much better than expected – I don’t feel much shame or embarrassment by confessing that it was legitimately good.

The film was written by Sheldon Turner who wrote X Men: First Class and won a BAFTA for Up In The Air (IMDB) so there was talent behind the script and it showed. The strong performances by the cast also helped the film to rise above its station.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning is not groundbreaking nor does it attempt to add anything new to the genre. What it does do is prove that when a procedural script is placed in the right hands it can produce a very decent film. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning gets a respectable 7.5/10.

For the avoidance of doubt “psychotic murderous hillbilly families” join dying in a plane crash, Tom Cruise, moths and zombies as things that scare the life out of me.


  1. I thought this film was awesome and I am not afraid to admit it. In fact it may be one of those rare films that outdoes its predecessor. Great post, Karina!

    1. This film was so much better than expected!

      Thanks for reading!

      K :-)

  2. Surprisingly positive review. I thought you'd hate it LOL

    The remake was crap and I hate it with passion, but the prequel is outstanding. The brutality and emotionality of this movie was mindblowing. I was a wreck when the credits started rolling. Top notch Leatherface flick!

    1. Dude - never be surprised when I like a film. I am so contrary and fickle even I don't know how I will react lol

      The remake was the one I saw in the cinema and I only remember fragments of it.

      The opening credits were very good but the child birth scene has almost put me off having kids! :-D

  3. I was rather surprised at how much I enjoyed this one too, thought it'd be sure fire garbage. By the way I think you've walked into Brewster season without knowing it...

    1. It had no business being a good film and it should have been garbage but it really wasn't.

      The cast were all excellent which really gave it a boost.

      Ha! Brewster Season sneaked in under the radar lol!