With "Saw 6" tanking in the box office, I think that it's safe to say that that the era of so called "torture porn" horror is over. Granted, I never liked the term. I always thought that it was more fitting term for 70's adult flicks that actually relied on things like torture and rape, as well as the ones that come out today. While there were a few titles in the genre of torture horror that were worth it ("Hostel", the first "Saw" movie, "Inside" and "Frontiers"), we got even more awful titles to go with it (5 sequels to "Saw", "Turistas", "See No Evil", "Captivity", "Rest Stop", "Timber Falls"-the list goes on.) The prequel to the Michael Bay produced 2003 remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is a movie that certainly fits into this category of horror.
The plot deals with well, the origins of the Hewitt Family from the previous movie. Times are tough in Texas circa 1969: the old meat plant is closing down, our boy Thomas (Andrew Bryniarski) is about to lose his job, and he's about to become the one and only Leatherface. Meanwhile, two brothers named Eric (Matthew Bomer) and Dean (Taylor Handley) are about to go to Vietnam. So before that, they decide to go on a road trip with their girlfriends Chrissie (Jordana Brewster) and Bailey (Diora Baird.) Soon, their jeep crashes in the middle of nowhere, and they soon meet the sadistic Sheriff Hoyt (R. Lee Ermey), who can't wait to introduce them to the rest of the Hoyt clan-including Thomas.
While the film is better acted than most torture flicks, and it manages to better capture a sense of family dynamic and Black Humor than the previous film, it's still not a good movie. For one thing, this is supposed to be the origin story of Leatherface. Sadly, it turns out that his origin isn't all that interesting. He's essentially just another psychopath who mutilated himself and who was bullied as a child. He's Leatherface. He should be more interesting than this.
The biggest problem though, is the same problem so many other movies of this sub-genre of horror fall into: it just isn't scary or interesting. This is a movie that thinks subjecting it's audience to scenes of torture and sadism automatically makes it a horror movie. That doesn't make it a good horror movie though. In fact, after a while it all becomes monotonous and repetitive, not to mention numbing and desensitizing.
"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" is hardly the worst of this type of horror, nor is it hardly the worst movie to bear the moniker "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"-that would be "The Next Generation." However, it still isn't a good or interesting movie, and offers nothing you haven't seen before. I wouldn't bother if I were you.