Movie Review: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

Synopsis: After the local meat packing plant, the town's largest employer, is shut down by the health department in 1969, farmer Charlie Hewitt kills the local sheriff and assumes his identity so he can feed his family by killing at eating motorists who pass through. This includes a pair of Vietnam-bound brothers and their girlfriends who were passing through on their way to California, had an accident and must now find a way to escape the new sheriff and his oversized and deformed relative, Tommy.

Who's in it? The movie stars Matt Bomer, Jordana Brewster, R. Lee Ermey, Andrew Bryniarski and Taylor Handley.

Review: My wife and I ran down to Costco yesterday morning and, while doing so, decided to leave the kids with my parents. They weren't quite ready to come home when we got back so, while having some lunch, we ended up picking this movie to watch.

I had some doubts about this film when I selected it on Netflix. This is largely because I wasn't a huge fan of the sequels to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and because prequel movies usually fall flat. However, as it turns out, this movie wasn't as bad as I was expecting it to be.

One thing I found I liked about this movie was the way it gave some depth to Tommy "Leatherface" Hewitt (Bryniarski) by revealing he was an unwanted baby that was "adopted" out of a garbage bin by his mom (Marietta Marich) and even showing us how he ended up with his "leather" mask. That, combined with he fact the Hewitts became cannibals out of necessity (and not necessarily with the same level of enthusiasm), helped make the movie a little more interesting. And, I especially liked how the writers managed to do that without bogging down the film.

The actor who really stole the scenes in this movie, in my opinion, was R. Lee Ermey's version of Charlie Hewitt/Sheriff Hoyt. He brought a lot of intensity to the character (similar to his drill sergeant role in Full Metal Jacket). As a result of that, he was actually a little scarier than Leatherface in this movie because he was so unpredictable. You didn't know if he was going to shoot someone outright or take time to torture them first.

Another thing I found I liked about this movie was the way Hewitt's intended victims tried to put up a fight (well, at least a couple of them did). As I've said before, horror movies are only as good as their victims and victims who at least try to escape or gain an upper hand are much more fun to watch because it keeps the movie from getting predictable (though they did, admittedly, make their share of stupid mistakes too).

Final Opinion: I had some doubts about this film, but it turned out to be an entertaining horror movie and is one I would recommend if you're looking for something entertaining to watch.

My Grade: B

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