I really had no intention of ever seeing this movie, but well it was on cable one night (By the way, I lose my cable for two years and when I get it back IFC is running commercials and playing Michael Bay movies? What the fuck happened?) and it’s one of two TCM films I haven’t seen so I figured “Oh why the hell not?”
Had I pondered on it for more then five seconds I would have come up with several reasons why not. Woe that I did not.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre The Beginning is the achingly necessary prequel to the awful remake that began Platinum Dunes reign of terror. Admittedly it is better than the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. I’d rather watch this than that piece of shit again. But considering that I would rather come down with a nasty case of clap then watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 03 edition again, this is literally the faintest praise I can offer.
Tough times have fallen on Texas in 1969. The local slaughterhouse has closed down laying off the entire Not Sawyer clan. Leatherface sees a chainsaw that happens to be lying there and he picks it up, adding mythological weight to the iconography. The not Sawyers look around for a minute and instead of signing up for welfare immediately go immediately from being laid off to resorting to cannibalism. You’d think there’d be a middle step somewhere in there but you’d be wrong. The turn around is frankly astounding. You can’t help but feel that these folks have just been looking for an excuse to do this for a long time.
Meanwhile four youtzzzzzzz…Vietnam War zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz social relevance zzzzzzzzzzzzz dramatic irony zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Eaten by cannibals.
Anytime the movie threatens to become accidentally effective by stringing together a few tense moments, the sheer irrelevance of it breaks through like a stream of anti-sunlight breaking through the clouds. I would hardly be the first to note that the inherent problem with prequels is their predictability. By definition you know how they’ll end because all the pieces have to be in place for the start of part one. Yet I have seldom seen any prequel held hostage to this in the same way that Texas Chainsaw Massacre The Beginning is. The pointlessness of the entire endeavor hangs over it like a gauzy layer. Try as you might you just can’t give a fuck.
The movie continues in this depressing vein for quite a while. And then throws in some torture porn cause it’s the aughts. R. Lee Ermey provides a few moments of life, but his is about as phoned in as an R. Lee Ermey performance can get. There’s simply nothing to recommend here. Sure there’s nothing that sends me into the frothing hate spasms that the first one did. But at least that had the courtesy to be egregiously awful. This is just another pale attempt to cash in on what people don’t seem to understand was the ultimate one off.