Thursday, March 23, 2017

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

I can't believe after all the years doing this blog, I'm still reviewing Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies. I know what you're thinking – couldn't you just, like, stop reviewing them, then? The answer is yes, yes I could. But that would be so much less fun in that sweet schadenfraude way. I have to do this. It's just how it is.

Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Starring: R. Lee Ermey, Jordana Brewster

Co-written with Nathan.

This is a prequel to the 2003 remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which is a real feat of confidence, as the gall it must take to assume anyone cared about that piece of shit movie and wanted to know more is far greater than anything I've ever felt.

This one starts off with a woman giving birth in the middle of a meat packing plant, which as everyone knows is exactly how you birth a serial killer. I'm glad they showed us this because I never would have known how Leatherface was born if they didn't and that was always the worst thing about the original movie. The way humans are born is just a total mystery to me so I'm glad this movie is setting the record straight on that!

Then we flash forward like 20 years to the same meat packing plant, now closing down, I assume, to become a vegetarian meat packing plant. Damn new trends... actually it's because of financial woes, I guess. For some reason, Leatherface is working there right as it's closing down – he's working in the exact same place he was born. I wonder what that's like... must be weird.

Then we learn by watching the manager that it's a bad idea to insult a mentally handicapped giant with a hammer in his hand while you're all alone in close proximity in the dark – it doesn't turn out well for him, to say the least.

And we see how he gets his infamous chainsaw – he just picks it up off the table at the meat factory as he's leaving. What an Earth shattering revelation. I am amazed how these writers were able to tie together the rich history of that chainsaw throughout multiple movies.

The main characters this time around are totally different from the last movie. Instead of a bunch of really attractive people, it's a bunch of really attractive people who have a few lines in the movie about going to Vietnam to fight a war. What a change! I guess these two guys are brothers and one of them doesn't want to go back to the war. Yeah, this is awesome. I watch slasher horror movies for serious plots about Vietnam war draft dodgers. I'm weird like that!

I do like the one scene of the brother tied up about to have sex with his girlfriend, and then he can't do it at the last minute because he's thinking about his brother too much. An every day occurrence I'm sure. Maybe producer Michael Bay is working some stuff out with scenes like this.

This is the time for deep thinking...

So I guess the Leatherface family, helmed again by R. Lee Ermey's Sheriff Hoyt character, are upset that the meat factory closed down because, I guess, this will mean the town is taken over by hippies and bikers? What a weird correlation. Except then we see that they're right – bikers just magically appear in town. Right on cue!

Did they sprout from the ground like mutated weeds? What the hell?

What follows is an incredibly strange scene in which this one woman biker chases the heroes on a motorcycle on the road with a giant gun to rob them – because I guess the movie forgot that this is TCM and not fucking Mad Max. But to be fair, a Mad Max sequel would be way better than this movie.

I liked her better when her name was Sarah Connor.

There's also an insane car crash that flips the car over and shatters several windows, yet the people inside don't break any bones or show much injury at all save for some blood on their heads! Man is that gonna be a mess! Damn car crashes.

It'll take hours to wash this off and put makeup back on! Fucking car crashes!

Hoyt shows up and kills the biker girl though, kidnapping three of the main characters – both brothers and the blonde chick. The other girl is not kidnapped because she was instead thrown out of the car in that crash earlier, yet she's perfectly fine and without a scratch on her! Because, I guess they can't have anything that ruins her hotness at all, lest they lose the interest of the people they delusionally think are watching.

The next forty minutes of this movie is all a bunch of torture porn nonsense. Really nothing scary at all – just gore and torture crap, which is almost always awful no matter what. A few highlights:

There's a needless scene where Hoyt makes the one brother do push-ups and then keeps hitting him while he's down. It goes on waaaay too long and has no point – Ermey's character just isn't well written enough to make it work as a tense scene. It's kinda gross and weird, but not scary or tense in the least. Plus being in broad daylight makes it kind of lame.

He's in the military and can barely do any push ups. Weird.

The main girl teams up with this lone biker guy to go save everyone, and their brilliant plan is of course to go do it alone. No point in even trying to get help, because what would THAT accomplish? You know, except for an awesome scene where a bunch of badass bikers fight Leatherface? That would actually be a cool scene, but what do we get? Just more of the same boring crap.

Instead, the biker shoots this old man in the family and then is butchered by Leatherface in an extremely predictable manner – it is always amazing to me how horror movie scripts do these tired, predictable scenes over and over like this. Do they think we all just have amnesia and really don't know what's going to happen at every fucking turn? I really want to meet the ideal person they think is going to watch this: “Holy fuck, I never expected him to jump out at that extremely obvious moment! What avant garde film technique!”

It's gory, but is it scary? No. No it isn't. That would require actual suspense and stuff we haven't seen a hundred times over.

Then Hoyt decides to make Leatherface cut off the old guy's legs, both of them, because he was shot in one of them. Even the other family members seem baffled by this, which is the real Litmus test for what a piece of shit you are, if the Leatherface family thinks you've gone too far.

So while the 2003 remake skipped out on the dinner scene so infamous in the original film, THIS one decided to put it in for no logical reason at all! Better late than never I guess, even when it makes no sense. Except I guess to establish that... the family is crazy and has always been crazy, since they apparently do this constantly? What an astute judgment of their characters. Why aren't the writers working in the field of clinical psychology?

"We could just kill you now, but that would make no sense for our plan of making no sense. We're just crazy! So we do nonsensical things!"

Hoyt gets beaten up with his head smashed against the floor several times, which looks pretty bad. It was mentioned at some point that he was in the Korean war – so can this just be a Jacob's Ladder scenario where none of this movie happened and it's all in his head as he's dying? Both of those things would be the best case scenario for me.

Then the main girl escapes and goes running through another meat factory, exactly like in the end of the 2003 remake. I wonder if the Leatherface family feels weird about their lives repeating all these moments over and over again, verbatim, like they're trapped in a Hellish loop.

Perhaps the silliest part of all is when she finds this car and gets in, only for Leatherface to suddenly pop up in the back seat after several minutes of driving and kill her. How did she NOT see him back there? He's a seven foot tall fucking giant with a chainsaw. That car isn't that big – it's not like he had a lot of room. So what the fuck, right? I don't feel bad at all about her dying because of this.

"I am very quiet and flexible enough to fit into small places. Isn't that cool?" 

I turned to Nathan before this happened, as she was getting in the car, and was like, wouldn't it be funny if he just popped up in the car behind her like Michael Myers? We laughed about it. Then it happened. That's pretty bad. How dare this movie appease the ridiculous whims of my imagination?

Then Leatherface gets out of the car and walks away into the complete black darkness on the other side of the road. Why is it like that? Can't they put in some fucking street lights over there?

She crashes her car into a state trooper and kills him - some street light could've prevented this tragedy.

Seriously, though, what's the point of anything in this? It's supposedly a prequel to show what happened before the Texas Chainsaw story, but it doesn't do anything but give us a rehash of the same shit we already know about. Oh, but there's a two-second scene of him being born and then finding a chainsaw! The audience was really too dumb to piece THOSE things together!

The rest of it is just boring. The original was good because the violence felt real and they didn't just shove blood and guts in your face from people tied to tables. This one is a bunch of torture porn gore garbage. Fuck this.

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