Vampire Chicks with Chainsaws (2006)

Directed by Carlos Don Diego [Other horror films: N/A]

A couple of Octobers back, at the time of this writing (February 2021, for the record), I first saw this film, and from what little I remembered, it struck me as a joyless experience. After seeing it again, I can confirm, indeed, that ‘joyless’ is a pretty good description of this movie.

Certainly the quality is, at best, iffy. A lot of times, lower-budget films don’t bother me, and I like to think that this one doesn’t bother me due to the budget itself, but I won’t say that the evidently low budget wasn’t problematic, mostly in terms of the pitiful camerawork, some of which was downright painful to watch.

The story also isn’t my cup of tea – basically a group of vampires are warring with aliens referred to as “Outlanders” and there’s a traitor vampire who loves a human hillbilly, and this guy in question has a first-person narration thing going on. But it’s not just normal first-person narration, it’s sometimes goofy, ‘humorous’ first-person narration said in a serious tone, because that makes it better.

And that, of course, was a joke, as it just makes the dialogue throughout the film painful. Not that the movie wasn’t already painful (even at 80 minutes, Vampire Chicks with Chainsaws feels quite a bit longer), but the script was laughably inept, which is a shame, as I think that’s where this movie was trying to provide most of the ‘fun,’

Which is another interesting thing, now that I think about it. Despite the almost-fun title, this movie just feels drab and bland. Even the color palette seems drained and muted. I don’t know where this was filmed, but the landscape just seemed so bleh. If the story and script had been better, that probably wouldn’t matter, but as it is, it just adds another weakness to the film.

I was not wowed by either Adam Abram or Jenna Lisonbee. I certainly don’t blame either one’s performance for how the final product turned out, but at the same time, I can’t say that they were great. What I can say is that they’re the only ones who really stand out in any conceivable way. Their growing attraction to each other didn’t interest me, nor did the end, nor did anything else, but at least they stood out.

There was also a dearth of quality death scenes. It wasn’t helped by the fact that the Outlanders had green blood, but even with that in mind, and even with plenty of chainsaws and hideous fight sequences, there was almost nothing here. Most of the blood came from vampire chicks biting their wrists, so that’s grand.

Vampire Chicks with Chainsaws was a painful movie the first time I saw it, and seeing it again, I can fully say that it’s an experience almost-entirely void of joy, which is something I don’t say lightly. This was a poor film, and definitely not one I’d care to experience again at any point.

1/10

The House Next Door (2006)

Directed by Jeff Woolnough [Other horror films: Nightworld: Lost Souls (1998), Strange Frequency 2 (2002)]

This made-for-TV movie isn’t the most forgettable film I’ve ever seen (it helps that I’ve just seen it, to be sure), but I don’t think it has the staying power that the creators were probably hoping for, which is a shame, as the story itself isn’t too bad.

I’m not personally one to care about production value – there have been plenty of quality low-budget made-for-DVD and made-for-TV movies, and I don’t judge a film based on what money went into it – but that being said, a lot of this movie still came across to me as bland and occasionally uninspired.

Based off a novel by Anne Rivers Siddons of the same title, published in 1978, the story isn’t that shabby, and has some interesting ideas in it (such as going through different owners of the house and the varied misfortunes they encounter), but the film isn’t able to pull that together into that great a movie-watching experience.

For what it’s worth, I think most of the performances are okay, at least in that Lifetime movie way. Lara Flynn Boyle and Colin Ferguson are decent together, though maybe come out of this a little generic (and that first-person narration that popped up at the beginning and the end didn’t do them wonders). Mark-Paul Gosselaar (of Dead Man on Campus… fame?) was a bit soapy at times, but still serviceable. Of the people who temporarily brought the house, Noam Jenkins (who appeared in Saw II and IV) was the best, becoming an overly orderly and pompous jackass like few others.

There were some okay scenes here, such as a somewhat jarring suicide, and the uncomfortable way Jenkins’ character spoke to his wife during the dinner party, along with any of the scenes of the new home owners giving into the mental pressures of the new house, but all of it feels tame and bland, even when it really shouldn’t.

The House Next Door isn’t a bad story, but the execution wasn’t properly done. The movie was lacking in feeling, and though a few things were decent with it, overall, I can imagine this being one of the many post-2000 made-for-TV movies that people will watch once and forget entirely.

5.5/10

Dark Ride (2006)

Directed by Craig Singer [Other horror films: Perkins’ 14 (2009), 6:45 (2021)]

I think this is my third time watching Dark Ride, and the first time that I realized that it’s really not a good movie. It’s not a terrible movie, don’t get me wrong – if you want a quick slasher that has decent kills, then you could certainly do much worse. Even so, Dark Ride hits about the bare minimum of requirements, and I only just realized it with my most recent watch.

Most of the plot and kills strike me as competent (the blowjob decapitation perhaps standing out the most), with the only thing really setting this apart, at least to me, is the setting, and to be fair, it’s more or less just a rehash of Hooper’s The Funhouse anyway. None of the characters really stick with me, and some of the arguably better characters (Patrick Renna, for instance) sort of fall flat come the finale. Like I said, Dark Ride is competent, but it isn’t really much more.

It’s hard to say that anyone really stood out. Patrick Renna (Fear, Inc. and ‘Bad Blood,’ one of the best episodes of The X-Files) had charm at times, in his awkwardly geeky way, but he could also be a bit of a dick. At least he was somewhat memorable, though, as David Clayton Rogers and Alex Solowitz often feel as though they fade into the background.

Jamie Lynn-Sigler and Jennifer Tisdale were cute, I guess, but it’s Andrea Bogart who is clearly the VIP here, as far as actresses go. Her introductory scene cracks me up, and though she may just be a generic hippie character, I totally dug it. The killer (played by Dave Warden) had a decent-looking design, but wasn’t really anything special or that remarkable.

There is a bit of comedic value in the film. Nothing major, but a few quips here and there that I sort of chuckled at, such as Renna’s character apparently not knowing what a condom was, or Renna’s constant movie talk, and Andrea Bogart’s impassioned delivery about music, hitchhiking, and sexual assault, not to mention the scene at the gas station. There’s enough here to at least keep you amused even if the horror aspects were by-the-numbers.

Certainly I think the finale as a whole was laughably awful – while I liked aspects of the twist, I thought it came across as sort of cheesy, and not much of a shock. It’s not as though it ruined the movie, though, as the film still has a little entertainment value, but the ending was definitely something that could have been improved.

Dark Ride is entertaining to an extent, and if you’re a slasher fan, I doubt you’d have a terrible time with this, but it probably lacks what makes some of the best slasher films memorable, so it may best be suited for a single viewing as opposed to making any type of annual rotation.

6/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Dark Ride.

Silent Hill (2006)

Directed by Christophe Gans [Other horror films: Necronomicon (1993, segment ‘#1: The Drawned’), Le pacte des loups (2001)]

Silent Hill is one of those films that I saw many years back, and haven’t seen since. It’s not one that crosses my mind too often, and I pretty much only recall confusion. To be fair, I’ve never played any of the Silent Hill games, nor watched any game-play, nor read any plot synopsis. The only thing I can really claim insofar as prior knowledge about the story is the Spanish film Broken Notes, which I didn’t even care for.

As it was, I was interested in seeing this one again with fresh eyes, but, and this wasn’t that much a surprise, I found that little changed. Aspects of the story were certainly decent, but boy, do I think the plot definitely needed some clarification somewhere along the way.

Lead Radha Mitchell was passable; I never felt strongly about her character one way or the other. The same can be said for Sean Bean’s character. Honestly, Sean Bean was pretty much a waste of time from beginning to end, because he never really added anything of any use whatsoever to the story. I sort of liked Laurie Holden (who appeared a year later in The Mist) here, but she also didn’t leave that huge an impression. And again, the same can be said for Jodelle Ferland, who I only mention because she later appears in a few movies I enjoy (The Unspoken and Neverknock).

I don’t think the problem is the cast, though, as uninspiring as I found them. It’s the God-awful story. And maybe the story’s not awful – maybe it was a clever look into multi-dimensional space using quantum physics and religious mania to showcase the dangers of rituals and doppelgängers or something. Don’t get me wrong – the Hellraiser-inspired chain massacre at the end was cool, but otherwise, I had a deep difficulty following along with this story. I won’t say that it wasn’t there for those who looked deep enough, but I didn’t see it.

If you came into this movie with some previous experience with the games, maybe a lot of this is easier to grasp. I certainly won’t discount that, and I know that this film, while still receiving somewhat mixed views, is generally, to an extent, liked. However, I definitely feel that aspects of the story could have been touched on more, and instead of feeling like things were muddled, what with doppelgängers and cults and multiple different dimensions (for some reason), maybe things would have felt more connected. Also, Pyramidhead looked cool, but was never explained, so that was fun.

Silent Hill isn’t a movie without potential. The atmosphere here was occasionally pretty solid, especially during the first half of the film. The problem is, Broken Notes did the atmosphere better. Like I said, I didn’t much care for that film (and for much the same reason as this one – the story befuddled me), but I got a much more genuine feel from that low-budget flick than I did this Hollywood production.

I may well be in the minority here, but I’ll find a way to live with that. Silent Hill was a poor movie that did a terrible job at actually giving the audience any reason whatsoever to care about the characters or the story. Just make things a little more clear-cut, and you might have a winner here. As it is, Silent Hill is definitely below average, and I can’t imagine a situation in which I’d want to sit through this two-hour long movie again.

5/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as we discuss the film.

See No Evil (2006)

Directed by Gregory Dark [Other horror films: Night of the Living Babes (1987), Mirror Images (1992)]

God, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen this slasher, and I forgot just how amateurish some aspects of this movie are. See No Evil gets a few things right, but I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed the movie as a whole.

Before I skewer the film with my complaints, I’d like to say that the setting (a large, abandoned hotel) is on point. At times it felt a bit too gritty and messy, but still, I liked what they were going for. As for the kills themselves, there were decent. The idea of a large chain piercing your jaw, or impaling your leg and dragging you off, is pretty brutal, and of course getting your eyes ripped out would be a fate to avoid. There’s not a whole lot of gore here, but what they went with was still decent.

As for the story, though, boy, do some things bother me. Firstly, the idea of reducing one’s sentence by doing some work is fine and well, but they didn’t ensure there wasn’t a connection between any of the prisoners beforehand? As soon as it’s discovered one of the male prisoners had an unruly relationship with one of the women prisoners, either the male prisoner should have been removed immediately or the whole thing should have been scrapped.

Another thing – they take a group of eight prisoners to a hotel, give them some quarters after telling them to stay in their rooms, and though there are only two supervisors, they just go down to the bar and expect the prisoners to listen? Are you kidding me?

Once we get to the killings, the fact that the story’s pretty poor stops mattering, but there were some really questionable things in this script, and that includes the little twist at the end (I have a hard time believing that some of the background of certain characters didn’t go unnoticed or impact relations). There are aspects I liked about the route they took, but I just didn’t buy it.

I don’t know anything about wrestling, so I have no idea who Kane is, but he does decent here as a mostly silent serial killer. The little pieces of history they throw to us via flashbacks show what a terrible childhood he led (along with showing us the dangers of extremist religious beliefs), and does lend his character a bit of sympathy. I will admit to not understanding the tattoo thing, though – his mother pointed out to him that they were blasphemous, and he still rips eyes out of women who have them (see the opening), so why bother keeping them captive for a little if they have a tattoo? I just didn’t get it.

Other performances worth mentioning include Luke Pegler, Steven Vindler, and Rachael Taylor. Pegler’s character was awful throughout the film, as he was that macho-type guy who did idiotic things for no reason other than he can. He redeemed himself a bit when he started kicking ass toward the end, but his character was still atrocious. Vindler’s character was decently honorable in a way, though he didn’t add that much to the film, and while Taylor’s character was one of the most annoying, the fact that the actress later goes on to play Patricia Walker in the Jessica Jones MCU series is sort of interesting.

I need to mention this before getting to my rating, as much as I’d rather forget it. There’s a scene near the end in which a character falls out a window. That thirty second sequence, from the start of the fall to the landing, was drenched in some of the worst CGI I’ve witnessed recently. It just looked so bad. One thing about this film that I didn’t like at all was the editing, the quick, spooky cuts in rapid speed which made it seem more like a music video than a movie (which makes sense, as the director has done plenty of music videos in the past). Other films used this in worse ways (such as the utterly terrible Death Tunnel), but it was still annoying here.

Oh, and that extra post-credit scene? What a waste of time.

I liked some things about See No Evil, but other things were done utterly terribly. It’s a movie that might get by okay if you can ignore some story problems, or perhaps remove your own eyes so you don’t have to deal with the editing or CGI, but hey, the setting’s cool, and some of the kills are decent. It’s a below-average film, and very much a mixed bag.

5.5/10

This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. If interested in hearing some quality conversation, check it out below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss See No Evil.

Dorm of the Dead (2006)

Directed by Donald Farmer [Other horror films: Cannibal Hookers (1987), Demon Queen (1987), Scream Dream (1989), Vampire Cop (1990), Invasion of the Scream Queens (1992), Savage Vengance (1993), Red Lips (1995), Red Lips II (1996), An Erotic Vampire in Paris (2002), Body Shop (2002), Red Lips: Eat the Living (2005), Chainsaw Cheerleaders (2008), Hi-8 (Horror Independent 8) (2013, segment ‘Thicker than Water’), Shark Exorcist (2015), Grindsploitation (2016, segment ‘Dirty Cop: Simon Says!’), Cannibal Cop (2017), Hooker with a Hacksaw (2017), Trashsploitation (2018, segments ‘Hooker with a Hacksaw’ & ‘Vampire Cop’), Cannibal Hookers (2019), Bigfoot Exorcist (2021)]

This movie is terrible in ways that few movies can compete with. It’s low-budget, sure, but the story is quite poor, the acting is laughable, and the amateurish nature of the film is overbearing. Even so, giving this one a second watch, I have to admit that it does possess just enough charm to ensure the movie’s not a complete waste (though make no mistake, it’s a close call).

No one in the cast does great, or even good (though certainly, some of the young women who get topless are rather scrumptious). However, I did derive some enjoyment from the main performances of Ciara Richards and Adrianna Eder. Both Richards and Eder are attractive in their own way, but I think Eder is the winner. Regardless, neither gives a great performance, but again, they bring some amusement to the film.

Jacky Hall, though, who played a bitchy Southern bully (she was born in Arkansas, and it shows) is the surprise star. Her performance is almost as terrible as the script (and that’s a hell of an accomplishment), and she brings some quotable lines to the forefront (‘Sit and spin, bitches’). Only two others are worth mentioning, including the science professor who had a vial of real Haitian zombie blood (Christopher Slade) and Kimberly L. Cole (‘Oh my God, is that a mouse? Oh, I think it’s a gerbil. Gerbils are so cute…’), who had a short, yet memorable, little scene.

By no means would I want to give off the impression that Dorm of the Dead is all sunshine and daisies, as some of this movie is really painful. The first ten minutes or so are focused purely on pointless characters who are all eventually killed by zombies. There’s a lesbian scene thrown in, so you get a bit more nudity, but neither of the women are at all important. After some credits, we’re gifted with what might be one of the worst scenes in cinematic history that I regret having watched (six, perhaps seven minutes of a guy telling a girl sexual innuendos and her being completely oblivious, only to be attacked by zombies at the end).

Also, the music here is terrible. It’s just random generic hard rock, none of it noteworthy in any way. As for the zombies? One randomly did a backflip early on, which didn’t much endear me to them. The effects, too, were poor, but given what had to be a very low budget, I’m guessing they did what they could. Also, while I’m grateful the movie ended (more than can be known), it was a very sudden conclusion.

The director of this movie, Donald Farmer, is somewhat a known quantity. Truth be told, I’ve not actually seen any of his movies beside this one (am I a lucky guy or what?), but I don’t think this was necessarily terrible. The script was, as I said, pretty atrocious – I really didn’t like the route this one took (one of the main characters got zombie blood poured down her throat, and is slowly beginning to crave human flesh, and eventually goes on a uber-scary rampage), which is probably the biggest issue I had with this one.

The thing is, as poor as many aspects of Dorm of the Dead are, the really terrible performances had me laughing, and while that by no means makes the movie a good one, having seen this one twice now, I admit that I could see myself giving this even another view in the future, for whatever that’s worth.

5.5/10

This film was discussed on Fight Evil’s podcast, so if interested, listen to Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I talk this one over.

Stay Alive (2006)

Directed by William Brent Bell [Other horror films: The Devil Inside (2012), Wer (2013), The Boy (2016), Brahms: The Boy II (2020), Separation (2021), Orphan: First Kill (2022)]

This movie was shit.

Now, I’ve seen this before, but it was a long, long time ago, so I recalled very little of it. I was already hesitant about rewatching it, but since I plan on rewatching and reviewing every single horror movie I’ve seen, there was no avoiding it, so I went in with tepid expectations.

The movie failed even those.

Most of the performances are shit. Whether that’s because of the script or actors/actresses themselves, I can’t say. I just know that I pretty much didn’t like any of the characters (and in particular, Samaire Armstrong’s character). As a lead, Jon Foster was terribly generic and just not interesting. Armstrong seemed like a character originally thrown in to lead to some plot twist, but instead, she’s just some random girl who lies about her background and never amounts to anything.

Frankie Muniz didn’t do anything for me. I didn’t hate his character, per se, but I definitely didn’t care about him one way or the other. Sophia Bush and Jimmi Simpson made for an interesting sister-brother pair, and I’d argue that Bush was probably one of the best characters in the movie. It was also nice to see the Bunk, or Wendell Pierce, here. Stay Alive is a far-cry from The Wire, though.

It’s not just the characters, though.

I’m a very casual gamer, so much so that calling myself a ‘gamer’ is a stretch by any definition. Give me Minecraft, Civ 3, Democracy 3, and Hearthstone, and I’ll be perfectly content. I have watched quite a lot of gameplay, though, and I have to say that the game portrayed in Stay Alive didn’t look like any horror survival games I’ve ever seen.

The angles were all janky in the third-person mode (and why was it we basically only saw first-person mode once, I wonder), and there’s no way that could be that pleasurable a multiplayer gaming experience. We saw a HUD about only three times, and just generally, that didn’t look anything like a game. Now, to be fair, this was released in 2006, so maybe survival horror has come a long way, but we about never saw an inventory, or health bar (or even sanity bar, à la Amnesia). It didn’t look anything like a game. At all.

Also, the kills throughout the film sucked. There was virtually no gore (hey, it’s a PG-13 movie, so fuck gore, too violent for the kiddies and loses us money, amirite?), and the kills overall were just so damn tepid and unmemorable, which is a shame, as this film certainly had potential.

That’s probably what bothers me most – it’s not like this film was shot in someone’s backyard. The estimated budget is around 20 million dollars, and they couldn’t come up with a script that made any modicum of sense? Seriously, I don’t get it. So the ghost of Bathory somehow made a game, that some company got distributed to Beta testers, because why? What? What is this shit?

And the game keeps going so characters can basically die without playing, right? So one of the characters (played by Muniz) says that he’ll actually play the game, giving him a better chance at surviving. Fine – that’s logical. But the other people who are alive, one of which is driving, can’t play, and Muniz can only play for himself, not for the other characters, so why the hell doesn’t the ghost take out every character who’s not playing?

This movie, the more I think about it, just annoys the shit out of me. The story makes very little sense despite the budget and potential of a video game-based horror film. You want a good video game horror movie? How to Make a Monster (2001), which is much lower quality, but it’s 1) actually fun and 2) makes a hell of a lot more sense. This movie was virtually worthless, and the ending was shit too. Oh, the CGI zombie children were great. Terrifying stuff. A+!!!

2/10

The Wicker Man (2006)

Directed by Neil LaBute [Other horror films: House of Darkness (2022)]

Even to this day, I don’t think the original Wicker Man gets the respect it so totally deserves. It’s a classic that really has a lot going for it. This remake isn’t altogether dissimilar, but for entirely different reasons.

I have to get this off my chest first, though: I just cannot take Nicholas Cage seriously. I just can’t. I love his character in National Treasure, but as an actor, Cage is a hard person for me to see in serious light – I think Next (2009) was the only time I remember his character coming across as a bit more normal, for lack of a better word.

Because of his presence, what really is an interesting and almost mostly-well written story (even with it being a remake of a far better film) just comes across as silly much of the time. It’s not just some of Cage’s more questionable lines, either, be it ‘What’s in the bag, a shark or something,’ or his yelling at the end about ‘goddamn honey.’ His actions are just as ridiculous, such as that scene where he punches out one of the women without comment, or kicks another one (while wearing a bear costume) into a wall.

If they had gone for someone a bit more generic, but brought less unintentional camp into the film, it’s possible The Wicker Man wouldn’t be as memorable, but I also think it wouldn’t be nearly as panned as it has been.

I have little complaints about others in the film. While few of them really stood out, Kate Beahan was moderately decent in her role. While by no means a big actress, Leelee Sobieski was nice to see, as I know her from starring in the 2006 British film In a Dark Place. Even James Franco has a small (and unexpected, as when I first saw this, I had no idea who Franco was) appearance at the end. Otherwise, no one really did much for me, aside from Cage, who I’ve already spoken extensively about.

The Wicker Man is a hard movie to talk about because of the fact that Cage’s performance overshadows so much of the actual story, which, like I said, is decently enjoyable. I rather loved the conclusion (though, as always, I thought the original did a better job), and generally, I think the story’s both somewhat interesting and fun.

Truth be told, this is a difficult one to rate. It feels really ridiculous at times, but I cannot pretend that I wasn’t amused or engrossed with the story playing out on-screen. On one hand, I think it could have been shortened by at least ten minutes, but on the other, that’d mean ten minutes less of Cage’s antics.

Love him or hate him, ultimately, this is the Nicholas Cage show, and while I really didn’t care for what his presence did to an otherwise pretty interesting plot, this is one that I’d watch again just due to the sheer amusement it brings forth.

6/10

Curse of Halloween (2006)

Curse of Hall

Directed by Jeremy Isbell [Other horror films: Angus Valley Farms (2005), Madman (2006), Angus Valley Farms 2 (2008)]

This is one of those movies which is sort of hard to describe, and I do mean that in one of the worst ways possible.

What didn’t work here (a list which would indeed be of an impressive length) really didn’t work, and due to that, almost nothing about this film is to be recommended. The biggest problem is the lack of cohesion, along with the framing and conclusion, along with everything else.

The story itself is of moderate interest, in which a group of individuals are sort of trapped nearby a house, and some type of curse/spirit/ghost/something is killing them off (sort of), along with causing delusions. The characters get separated early on, and because delusions are part of this curse’s/spirit’s/ghost’s/something’s modus operandi, it’s hard to tell which characters are even together. I swear, this one female character had two, perhaps three, scenes in which it looked like she died. Same with one of the guys.

With a higher budget, this type of confusion might almost be okay. But instead, Curse of Halloween is one of the cheapest films I’ve seen in a little while. Really, I don’t know what else would be expected, given that this film is dated as 2006 on IMDb, yet still hasn’t garnered more than six votes. Part of me wonders if this film was ever supposed to be released, as I definitely got an unfinished product feel about it.

The few who have gone out of their way to watch this film seem to share the same confusion I have. Both A Slash Above and Dread Central have reviews for this film up, and both gave it no stars. Because I’m an idiot, I’ll throw the movie a few bones, despite the fact that this is on a level of ineptness that few other films could match. There’s one scene with decent nudity. That said, there’s also a ten-minute long boat ride (I can’t even begin to describe how boring these ten minutes were – no dialogue, just atrocious electronic music as characters who I don’t know party on a boat), so take that with a grain of salt.

The best thing I can say about this film is that it’s just an hour. On the other hand, the fact that it’s an hour just goes to show that I’ve wasted sixty minutes of my life on this. Also, the title of the film is okay (unfortunately, there’s nothing Halloween-ish in the movie, and in fact Christmas ornaments are present during one scene).

Yeah, there’s nothing here to go out of your way to see unless you want to see some truly awful ways to make a movie. From beginning (the blubbering of a man threatening to commit suicide due to the horrors he experience) to end (the aforementioned awful boat-ride), this is an utter mess.

1.5/10

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

The Beginning

Directed by Jonathan Liebesman [Other horror films: Darkness Falls (2003), The Killing Room (2009)]

I don’t think anyone would posit that the TMC sequels are ever quite original. Some, such as the 1990 Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, can be quite fun, but original? Not so much.

This prequel to the 2003 remake doesn’t really add much of anything, which, for a prequel, is sort of sad. Sure, we get an “origin” story of Leatherface, but it doesn’t really mean much as this film and the remake are virtually identical. Hell, this even has a climatic fight in the meat packing plant, just like the 2003 remake did.

Certainly, the movie’s not lacking in gore. There’s plenty of gore throughout this flick, and more than enough to go around. Related, the special effects are generally pretty good also. Like the remake, there’s sort of a built-in grittiness here, which somewhat falters due to the polished nature of the movie.

The cast is generally pretty blah. Sure, R. Lee Ermey has some charm, but the four main protagonists, Jordana Brewster, Taylor Handley, Diora Baird, and Matt Bomer are all pretty cookie-cutter, which, given the expected bleak ending, may well have been intentional. Aspects of the characters are interesting, such as the two brothers on different paths (one’s going back to Vietnam, the other is burning his draft card and going to Mexico), but there’s not much time to really touch on what makes the characters individuals.

Because the movie takes place in the late 1960’s, it makes the film a little more unique. Not much, though, and while the gore is, of course, pretty good (let’s be real – if a TCM movie can’t do gore good, then why bother?), and Leatherface is appropriately threatening at times, The Beginning is pretty much as bland as the 2003 movie was, even after having previously enjoyed it.

6/10