The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
Masochists of the world, rejoice: Director Jonathan Liebesman’s gore-fest is as fresh--and as bloody--as the fetid meat littering its frames. When four attractive twentysomethings suffer an auto accident (more specifically hitting a cow while being chased by a biker chick with a gun--how Texan), the rescuing "sheriff" (R. Lee Ermey) turns out to be a member of the infamous Hewitt family who escorts them to his remote farmhouse. Less frightening than nauseating, the remainder of the movie documents their slow torture at the hands of Leatherface (Andrew Bryniarski) and the rest of the Hewitt clan. Rare moments of dark comic relief are too few to rescue the movie from its meaty monotony, and genre conventions run so heavily that the occasional near-deviations merely tease. This is a prequel to a 2003 remake of a 1974 classic, which itself sported three sequels and two documentaries--when can Leatherface just retire in peace? Continuing the trend toward blood ’n’ guts (see also: Saw, The Hills Have Eyes), recent American horror has disappointingly eschewed the subtle, atmospheric production of its Asian counterparts (try Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Pulse). Ultimately, though, The Beginning succeeds in its primary goal: making the audience writhe in misery for all 84 of its butchery minutes.