True to the genre

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
Starring R. Lee Ermey and Jordana Brewster. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman. Rated R.
Rated 4.0

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning carries on the horror movie tradition in fine form. The prequel to the 1974 classic (and, more specifically, the 2003 remake) starts out in 1939, in a slaughterhouse in small-town Texas, where Tommy Hewitt grows up getting picked on for being a freak. Although the childhood sequences are quick and jerky, we get an idea of the kid’s mental state growing up and how he eventually becomes Leatherface.

Thirty years later, the slaughterhouse is condemned and the small town is on the verge of extinction.

Enter perky teenagers taking one last joyride before two of them ship out to Vietnam. On their way to the military base, the two guys, and their girlfriends, have a little run-in with some bikers and end up totaling their car.

Here’s where the real fun begins, starting with the arrival of the sheriff (or so they think), played by R. Lee Ermey. Ooh, he is scary, always chewing on something and spitting out what appears to be blood.

One of the girlfriends (Jordana Brewster) was thrown from the car during the accident, and after her friends are driven off by the sheriff, she is the foursome’s only hope at getting out alive.

One of things that makes this movie as good as it is, is Jonathan Liebesman’s ability to evoke tension and fright from the audience—something that’s lacking from most newer horror flicks. Also, although there’s quite a bit of blood, and chainsaws and guns and torture, the gore is shown in quick flashes rather than long, blood-and-guts scenes.

In a few words: If you like horror movies—keep in mind this is a slasher, not a psychological thriller—you’ll probably jump out of your seat in this one.