The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning ★★★½

The prequel to the 2003 remake, this movie pairs well with it to provide one solid remake timeline, a more straightforward and consistent story compared to the original sequels, reboots, and follow ups. The one big downside for this film is that unlike with the other sequels that totally did their own thing, this one felt like an imitation of the remake - making a good, but rather safe follow up that is a little less memorable and the start of a formulaic approach to the style of the movies; every film since 2003 has at least in imagery, tried to look the same as the remake, to varying success.
This prequel tells a story that gives flaws and history to the characters that are well enough written and delivered to make you really root for them, but it doesn't do much at all more for the family as it probably should've, branding itself 'the beginning'. Sure it tells the story, but it only shows a little of leatherface's past, and does very little to give the rest their origin stories.
R. Lee Ermey is once again a major standout and does a hell of a job with his role, but nothing quite hits that performance in the remake.
The gore and effects in this one are gruesome and among the most extreme in the series so far, but the theatre of the mind that gave the original film it's magic is clearly long disregarded by this stage in the franchise.
Overall, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre The Beginning tells a simply twisted story, but not one that really does anything too daring, and fails to get its own personality. It is however one of the strongest of the 'new' Chainsaw films, and perhaps the last great one... it is a film well worth any horror fans attention!