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Movie Review

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

MPAA Rating: R for strong horror violence/gore, language and some sexual content

Reviewed by: Robert Kouba
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Horror Thriller Prequel
Length:
1 hr. 24 min.
Year of Release:
2006
USA Release:
October 6, 2006 (wide—2,800 theaters)
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Copyright, New Line Cinema
Relevant Issues
Copyright, New Line Cinema

How does viewing violence in movies affect the family? Answer

Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem?

Featuring: Jordana Brewster, R. Lee Ermey, Taylor Handley, Andrew Bryniarski, Matthew Bomer, Heather Kafka
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Producer: Robert J. Kuhn, Toby Emmerich, Mark Ordesky
Distributor: New Line Cinema

“Witness the birth of fear”

Films in this series:
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)

WARNING: Review briefly describes film’s graphic subject matter.

The life of Thomas Hewitt begins, very aptly, in a slaughterhouse. A woman clutches her stomach as her water breaks and blood, followed by some acidic-looking fluid, exit her body. Although seemingly dead, the woman lets out one last scream as a child crawls out of her in one of the most disgusting sequences in the movie. Oh, and did I mention that this is all before the opening titles?

The deformed newborn has been wrapped up and left to die in the garbage. However, a woman looking for food in the trash bins finds the child. The disfigured boy is taken in by a backward family in this small Texas town and is given the name Thomas Hewitt. Horror fans everywhere know him by another name. Leatherface.

The Hewitt family actually represents some of the individuals that decide to stay in the town after the meatpacking plant closes. Thomas, now grown, enjoys his job of methodically cutting the meat and has to be yelled at in order to leave. He comes back later to take his vengeance on the overbearing supervisor. Before the sheriff can take him in, the officer is slain by one of the Hewitt family who takes the sheriff’s identity to cover their trail. The new Sheriff Hoyt (reprised by R. Lee Ermey) now sees their means of survival: cannibalism.

The rest of the film is fairly cliché. Two brothers with their girlfriends are taking a roadtrip before they ship off to Vietnam. While passing through a certain small town in Texas, the group is accosted by a biker. With his attention not on the road, the driver hits a cow and causes an accident that throws his girlfriend Chrissie (Jordana Brewster) from the car. Hoyt quickly is on the scene. He kills the biker and takes the three occupants of the car crash and the dead body of the biker to his house. What ensues is a grisly game of cat-and-mouse that includes cannibalism, rape, dismemberment, torture, and murder as the brothers and the girls are rescued and recaptured by Leatherface and the Hewitt clan.

So what is good about the movie? Nothing. Interestingly enough though, the film does have topics that can be discussed. But none of them demand anybody but the reviewer to watch the film. The first question I pose is: who is this film meant for? Entering the theater, I notice a fellow moviegoer is dressed as Leatherface complete with blood spattered butcher’s apron. This is not even opening night! And, with the costume fresh in my mind, I am floored to see that the first row is occupied by three girls ages 8 to 14 or so with their parents a few rows behind. It is this kind of occurrence that brings a quote from the film sharply into focus.

“You’ll be amazed at the things you can get used to.”

It seems the director (Jonathan Liebesman) and the writer (Sheldon Turner) are using the quote to refer to the events in Vietnam and the events at the Hewitt house only. I suggest it would be worthwhile to examine that this quote is apropos to the escalation of film today. While Texas Chainsaw is thankfully not as gruesome as “High Tension” or “Hostel,” it marks a recent trend of films to “push the envelope.” The film’s title tells everything you need to know. People will get cut up with chainsaws, and this is the “beginning.” Therefore, none of the bad guys will die, so you are basically subjecting yourself and whoever accompanies you to the killing of innocents. You will also be listening to over 40 swear words which include just about every one you can imagine.

If you need more than that, I have two other reasons for you to avoid this movie like the plague. One has to do with the family unit. One of the creepier things throughout the series is the apathy of the Hewitt family and the townsfolk. Mocking Christianity by saying a prayer before eating someone, having Leatherface cut off the legs of a family member, or the strange obliviousness to the diabolical, the family mirrors nothing of what you would (hopefully) want to see in your own family.

Two, the film on a technical level is horrible. The script has nothing new (I am somewhat thankful), the acting is uninspired, and the directing, which takes pains to develop the atmosphere of horror early on, devolves into making quick jump-cuts every which way and using the “shake” method while following in chases. I was getting sick near the end, and it wasn’t because of what was on screen but rather the way it was displayed. Also, exactly how does a lumbering 7-foot giant with a chainsaw hide in the back of a car?

Finally, I leave you with this quote from the film that I encourage you to remember should you feel that this kind of film doesn’t affect you, and you just want to get “freaked out.”

“Do something long enough and eventually you start to like it.”

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Negative—…Going in, I had a fairly general idea of what I was about to see and unfortunately this movie far surpassed what I was expecting. First of all, this is NOT a movie for Christians and for anyone under 18 for that matter. The gore is over the top, and there is splatters of blood in nearly every scene. While this is not the goriest movie I have ever seen, it is darn close. I also saw no positive messages whatsoever. Even as a horror movie, this film fails for several reasons. One, it has more or less been done before numerous times. Two, the acting is sub-par, at best, and, finally, the dialog is average, at best. There were numerous curse words F-bombs, “S” words and some “G-D’s and some other blasphemies. Overall, I don’t recommend this overly pointless, gory film to anyone including die hard fans of the original. If you must view a “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” movie, save your money and go rent the original.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1
—Daniel, age 24
Negative—I agree with Roger Ebert. It’s a total waste of time and not fit to see. I like scary movies, and gagging is not what I spend money for, but this movie made me almost gag. Please don’t let your children or grandchildren see it. The world needs something much better than this type of violence. We need to see the brighter side of life not the sick, perverted, evil, gruesome filth this movie is made of.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Cathy, age 55
Comments
I have not seen this movie, and never would. …Isn’t it obvious that Christians should not watch this? Why subject yourselves to this movie, for any reason? Please save your $7. Invest your time and dollars into movies that deserve it. The title of this movie alone, is a good indicator that this movie is one that Christians should ignore completely. …
—Sarah Vilmain, age 30
Comments from young people
Negative—Unless you enjoy feeling sick or throwing up, I wouldn’t go to this movie. The whole movie is just about people getting slaughtered, and I wouldn’t waste your money. I really regret going.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Kate, age 14
Negative—I don’t like this movie, and not for the reasons that the reviewer didn’t like it. When I see the beginning, I expect back story. There is none. At least not a good one. This is a boring pretentious waste of time, effort and money. Maybe if the movie hadn’t taken itself so seriously, it would have been better. There is a condescending tone to the picture that realy makes it so hard to take. It’s as though the filmmakers feel like they’re doing Chainsaw fans (and I am one) a favor. I would like to see how this all began. I really wanted to have a good story, or at least a semi-interesting explanation as to why this family does the things they do. I didn’t hate the first remake. It captured some of the original film’s tone, while being original, but this is just garbage. If you’re a big fan of the original movie or the sequels it inspired, stay away. If you’re not a fan, but you want to kill 8 bucks and 90 min., go ahead.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 1
—Cody, age 16