Cold steel meets cold capitalism in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, a noisy prequel to the 2003 remake that revs up the power tools to disguise its pointlessness. Chrissie (Jordana Brewster) is driving her boyfriend to re-enlist in Vietnam when they become the first victims of Thomas Hewitt, aka Leatherface (Andrew Bryniarski). Explaining away the chainsaw carnage with pop psychology, The Beginning's little more than an insult. The real massacre here is that of a horror legend.
If you're gonna mess with an icon, you'd better get it right. Leatherface's origin story is truly trite: born in a slaughterhouse, abandoned, adopted, bullied at school. The nurture not nature argument robs him of his inarticulate, inexplicable motivation, making him into a common or garden psychopath. Gone is the camp, wig-wearing, squealing killer of the original series. No wonder this lumbering "retard" is upstaged by his adopted dad Sherriff Hoyt (R Lee Ermey) - a sadistic army vet who developed a taste for human flesh in Korea.
"TRASHES THE LEATHERFACE LEGEND"
At least The Beginning earns its 18 certificate. Relentless, noisy torture scenes bring winces as meat hooks, sledgehammers and (you guessed it) chainsaws come into play. Ermey retools his Full Metal Jacket persona to entertaining effect, forcing his victims to do push-ups while savagely beating them with a cop stick. There's definitely darkness here, but it's overshadowed by corporate cynicism that carelessly trashes the Leatherface legend to make a quick buck. Yet more proof that true horror fans don't remake, they just re-watch.