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Film review: 'Chainsaw' may make you cut and run

Gory, gross prequel revels in violence and human ugliness

Published: Monday, Oct. 9 2006 12:00 a.m. MDT

Chrissie (Jordana Brewster) stars in New Line Cinema's "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning." The film's unrelenting violence makes it hard to stomach, and it's hard to find any good guys.

Van Redin

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THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE BEGINNING — * — Jordana Brewster, R. Lee Ermey; rated R (violence, gore, profanity, torture, vulgarity, brief sex, racial epithets); Carmike 12 and Ritz 15 Theaters; Century Theatres 16 (Sandy); Century Theatres 16 (South Salt Lake); Cinemark 24 at Jordan Landing; Megaplex 12 at the Gateway; Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons.

Early on in "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning," one character remarks that the infant version of the murderous Leatherface is "the ugliest thing I ever saw." The same could be said of this stomach-churning horror prequel, which pretty much revels in human ugliness.

As grotesque as the film is, though, we can be thankful for one thing: As much as 15 minutes' worth of violent content was cut out so the filmmakers could dodge the commercially suicidal NC-17 rating. (However, the movie is still so violent that it strains the limits of the R-rating classification.)

As promised by the title, the movie explores the origins of the chain-saw-wielding killer and his adopted "family," which includes the impostor law-enforcement officer Sheriff Hoyt (veteran character actor R. Lee Ermey).

Among the unfortunates who cross their path are four friends who try to make their way through Texas. Brothers Eric (Matthew Bomer) and Dean (Taylor Handley) are supposed to be enlisting in the U.S. Army, though their respective girlfriends — Chrissie (Jordana Brewster) and Bailey (Diora Baird) — have other plans for them.

So does the nefarious sheriff, who captures the unfortunate youths and hands them over to his "nephew," Leatherface (Andrew Bryniarski), so he can prepare them for supper. Guess what's on the unappetizing menu?

To say that the film is suspense-free is an understatement — since this is a prequel, it's obvious that the bad guys will win in the end. Of course, the supposed good guys are so unlikable you'd swear the filmmakers were trying to turn Leatherface into the "hero" of this piece.

"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" is rated R for graphic scenes of horror, violence and gore (including stabbings, shootings, chain-saw attacks, violence against women and vehicular violence), strong sexual language (including profanity), scenes of torture and torment, crude bodily function humor, brief sexual contact and use of racial epithets. Running time: 84 minutes.


E-mail: jeff@desnews.com

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