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brothers dean (taylor handley) and eric hill (matthew bomer), along with their girlfriends are on a trip across texas, which will end with eric getting dean to enlist in the marine corps. this plan is put a stop when the group is confronted and followed by a ruthless biker named alex (cyia batten). she causes the gang of friends to get into an accident which throws chrisse (jordana brewster) from the vehicle and into nearby brush. just as alex attempts to rob them, sheriff hoyt (r. lee ermey) shows up and kills her. as chrisse watches from the brush hoyt orders her friends into his patrol car. he then takes them to the hewitt family's house where thomas (andrew bryniarski), who inevitably becomes leatherface, is. now it's all left up to chrisse to save her friends from the horror waiting.
no question goes unanswered in johnathan liebesman's 'the texas chainsaw massacre: the beginning'. we find out how hoyt got the title of sheriff, how monty lost his legs, & of course how thomas hewitt becomes leatherface. unfortunately though, thomas' transition to leatherface is overshadowed by hoyt. unlike the 2003 remake by marcus nispel, he doesn't share the spotlight with leatherface, he steals almost, if not all of it and deservedly so. r. lee ermey's character, although one of the villains, is the most likable featured. i don't think that for even a second during the film did i find myself rooting for the group of friends. with good one-liners and natural heinousness hoyt proves to be the best part of the revival of the 'texas chainsaw massacre' series.
story wise this prequel is okay. it basically tells everything needed to be known about thomas who in the end becomes leatherface. (even though it might not be quite as interesting as hoped.) the biggest complaint i hear though regarding the story is that his childhood isn't brought to life. beforehand i was expecting to see that included in the film. after seeing it though, i realized something. it's actually for the better that it wasn't shown because seeing him at age nine and being ridiculed for his deformities would only make the viewer either pity or laugh at him. this in the end would only undermine leatherface and get rid of the terror that he supposedly evokes from the audience.
the bottom line is, the movie accomplishes what it was made to do, tell leatherface's origin. it's too bad the hoyt's side story outshines that. and the film's not bad, it just pales in comparison to the 2003 remake. i will say this though. for whoever makes the next one in the series, i have a suggestion: give hoyt a chainsaw. it'd be far more interesting to watch.
- originally written on october 24, 2006
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