Let me get all things cleared up from the very get go of this review. I hated this movie, it was vile, disgusting, and was a movie that I came so close to getting up and walking out of it was unreal. I don't know when the last time was I contemplated walking out of a movie, but today, you can bet your last two dollars I came extremely close. There was virtually nothing about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Beginning I liked in regards to entertainment. There were however things I liked from a spiritual and technical perspective.
For those who have been living in Never Never Land for the last 30 plus years The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the supposed true story of Thomas Hewitt and his family who slaughtered people by use of a chainsaw and other items and then cannibalized them. I say supposed true story because the truth is in reality there never was a Thomas Hewitt or a serial killer known for these types of murders in Texas. Instead, the makers and creators of the movie loosely base their story off of real serial killer Ed Gein. Numerous movies have based their characters off of this individual, movies such as, Psycho, Deranged, and Silence of the Lambs. That is one of the things that bother me about the movie. Not only is it an experience in terror, it is an experience reported to be based on truth, when in reality it has very little in common with the truth. It is as if the terror and vile we see aren't enough, we as an audience have to be terrified with the possibility the story happened. It is as if the story of Ed Gein wouldn't be scary enough. The fact that the company is still making profits off of the reported true story looses credibility with me as a reviewer, and fan of horror.
I must admit, while I love horror, I don't like gore. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Beginning is unique because it actually mixes in quality movie making, along with enough gore to keep those fans happy. Did you hear that? The movie mixes in some quality movie making. I did respect from an artistic perspective the desire to have some decent character development, a great job of direction and editing, and some decent acting.
In the above capacities I couldn't compliment the film more. I don't expect Academy Award performances in a film like this, but neither do I expect the quality of acting I observed. R. Lee Ermey, an Emporia Kansas native, proves without a doubt he can act. This former drill sergeant plays the part of Sheriff Hoyt, in reality a member of the Hyatt family, who is responsible for the instigation of the horror that occurs with realistic disgust. His performance alone is almost good enough to justify seeing this movie. While many will see Leatherface as the villain we have all come to fear, it is Sheriff Hoyt who is the ultimate villain. In an opening scene the real Sheriff makes it clear this man is responsible for the horrors that have come to the community. Unfortunately for him, he shares this information with someone who don't want to hear it.
I must also comment on the direction by Jonathan Liebesman. I was surprised and pleased in the quality of work he gives us. It is something that will give this movie merit, and will likely set the movie in a class reserved for classics within these genera. I am convinced that just because a fan may like the horror genera, it does not mean they like their movies to be lacking in quality.
I watched this movie and came to realize, even though it is a fictional story, period, the events as described in the movie are loosely based off of a real individual. The reality is we live in a world where evil exists. Often, just as in The Devil's Rejects and other horror movies, that horror comes at the hands of a supposedly religious character. Even here, the Hewitt family does not sit down to say a meal without saying grace, or a blessing, thanking God for the bounty of which they are about to receive. Nowhere in their minds do they comprehend the evil regarding the taking of life as they are cannibalizing individuals they have killed. While we may look at that in disgust, I have to wonder, what types of sins and horrors in our own lives do we hide, pretend aren't there, and even for many religious individuals, overlook while we go on engaging ourselves in the evil that may destroy another persons reputation, or even harm someone through the political systems we support and advocate for? I don't know if this is part of the direction or thought during the writing process or not, but as I watched the evil and horror of this family, while at the same time supporting their own religion, I can't help but think; "What about me?" From that perspective, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Beginning accomplishes another important role of horror. It helps individuals reflect on their own lives, specific to what is good and what is evil, and then reflect on the differences between our societies by observing the lives of the characters we see on the screen.
The original Texas Chainsaw movie is considered a classic. It has been given reverence and respect world wide in various formats. From the White Zombie song; "Who will survive and what will be left of them," to being a part of a scene in the classic movie, Taxi Driver. I can't help but think that Tobe Hooper, the originator of the franchise is pleased with this production. I also can't help but think fans will also be pleased. As for this one critic though, while I respect art, I also know there are certain styles of art I just don’t care to purchase. The art as displayed in this movie is one of those types. I doubt I'll ever watch the movie again. Today, well, today was a job and the movie going experience just wasn't that much fun.
On a scale of 1 - 10, while I didn't like the movie at all, I still respect the artistic nature of what it took to make it. A very confusing 8
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