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TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE BEGINNING

SYNOPSIS:
In this prequel, Leatherface (Andrew Bryniarski) is up to new habits again. When the abattoir at which Thomas Hewitt (AKA Leatherface) shuts down, and his boss addresses him in a displeasing manner, Thomas discovers to his delight that bovine and man react similarly to the treatments of butchery. His uncle (R. Lee Ermey) manages to promote himself to sheriff in the process of covering up Tom's crime, and the family, isolated in a town deserted by industry collapse, has no other choice but to eat the bodies as they pile up. Unfortunately for a group of four travellers led by resourceful Chrissie (Jordana Brewster), the Hewitts develop a taste for their new cuisine.

Review by Joel Meares:
Even more than most horror films, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, feels desperately unoriginal. Liebesman's slasher plays like the remake of a remake of a rehash of something that might have been worth renting long, long ago. The four corpses in waiting, with Brewster in the lead channeling every "Jamie Lee Biel" scream queen before her, are assigned personalities according to jaw line. Eric (Matt Bomer) has a square jaw and is thus the returning Vietnam vet, brave and honourable. His brother Dean (Taylor Handley) has a softer, rounder face, and is thus weak and burns his draft card. The two spit clichés at each other on this subject, filling in the time before both get well and truly logged. Rounding out the quartet is Bailey (Diora Baird), whose jaw is unmemorable. Combined, they bear an uncanny resemblance to the cast the 2003 film, Massacre: The Middle.

The cast is not the only shock of déjà vu you will feel watching this movie. Said trio (they eventually become a solo act) run around and through the same house that featured in the first film, scream across the same fields and find themselves in similar cars. Scenarios, such as the distressed girl watching the boy get tortured, are replayed almost frame for frame. 2003's slick grime varnish lacquers the screen as it did three years ago and the finale is a near direct lift. Where Turner diverges from the course, explaining aspects of Leatherface and family's origins, the movie is at its worst. Every moment of origin, from the creation of Sheriff Hoyt to Leatherface's introduction to the chainsaw, is so illogically contrived that fanatics will be offended and casual viewers will at best be amused. However, The Beginning does feature the most sidesplitting labour scene since Natalie Portman birthed Luke and Leia.

It must be acknowledged that for undemanding fans of the genre this carbon copy works on some levels. It supplies the gore and suspense one expects and is at times truly scary. At other times, mostly when the butcher ponders his meat, touching it, hooking it, tenderising and stripping it, the unoriginality is wearying.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE BEGINNING (R)
(US, 2006)

CAST: Jordana Brewster, Taylor Handley, Diora Baird, Matthew Bomer, Lee Tergesen, R. Lee Ermey, Andrew Bryniarski

PRODUCER: Michael Bay, Mike Fleiss, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller, Bradley Fuller, Kim Henkel, Tobe Hooper

DIRECTOR: Jonathan Liebesman

SCRIPT: Sheldon Turner, Sheldon Turner, David J. Schow (story)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Lukas Ettlin

EDITOR: Jonathan Chibnall, Jim May

MUSIC: Steve Jablonsky

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Marco Rubeo

RUNNING TIME: 84 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 16, 2006







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