The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
Witness the birth of fear.
Year of Release: 2006
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 96 minutes (1:36)
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Jordana Brewster ... Chrissie
Taylor Handley ... Dean
Matt Bomer ... Eric
Diora Baird ... Bailey
R. Lee Ermey ... Uncle Charlie Hewitt / Sheriff Hoyt
Andrew Bryniarski ... Thomas Hewitt / Leatherface
Marietta Marich ... Luda Mae
Terrence Evans ... Monty
Lee Tergesen ... Holden
Lew Temple ... Sheriff Winston
John Larroquette ... Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Born under the most gruesome of conditions, an abandoned baby is found and taken in by the demented Hewitt family. As he grows under their morbid nurturing, Thomas develops a ravenous appetite for chainsaws and torture. This is unfortunate for four teens captured by the shady local "sheriff" and brought to the Hewitts' sadistic house of horrors. There, the teenagers must fight to survive as Thomas' murderous desires are unleashed and Leatherface is born.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, remindin' us that a man who owns a bear trap while livin' 10 miles from the nearest tree is probably not interested in makin' new friends.
And speakin' of good ways to get gangrene, Bambi Mastrude's been tellin' everyone and their fat mama how it's my fault that the third member of 'er triad of terror got denied early release by the juvenile hall parole board, and now I can't walk past the halfway house without somebody chuckin' a wine bottle at me from a second-story window.
I didn't even wanna be there in the first place but Bambi needed a ride 'cause Edgar's Firebird's been makin' a noise like a table saw cuttin' through a VHS copy of Titanic ever since he sat on the hood at the drive-in last week and left a 10" deep divot in the area immediately above the crankshaft. And I know what you're gonna say, so yeah, I prolly did owe 'er one after she helped fend off the Attack of the Newsmax Zombies when they came for the head of our local weather oracle, Murray the groundhog, awhile back but three hours in a car hearin' about the "anomaly" the gynecologist found at 'er last checkup, and the case for 50 Shades of Gray: The Musical is not my idea of a fair exchange. Unfortunately, that was only the tip of the iceberg.
"You're still mad about that stupid fling I had at the Prime Creek, ain'tcha? It was 10 years ago! You needa move on!" she insisted.
"It was TWELVE years ago, and I could care less what you and Count Floyd were doin' in the can. I'm MAD 'cause I spent 30 minutes in a hardtop theater watchin' a constipated, undead pedophile pine for a clueless, airhead bimbo with Chuck Norris' range of emotion, but none of his wheel-kickin' prowess," I growled through clenched teeth.
"I SAID I was sorry!" she shrieked, her arms held aloft against the roof of the Topaz.
"Can we talk about somethin' less disgustin'? Like, I dunno, the dysentery outbreak at Tijuana Tom's?" I suggested.
"Oh. So that explains it," she trailed off.
"Explains what?" I demanded.
"Never mind. Just pull over at that rest stop," she instructed.
"Fine. Try not to have sex with the hitchhikers stakin' out the candy machine," I told 'er.
After my nose quit bleedin' we agreed that it'd be pointless to continue dredgin' up past grievances and decided to let Cheap Trick and the classic rock station fill the silence until we finally made it to The Dalles and baby's first parole hearing.
"You're not wearin' that, are you?" I asked.
"What's wrong with this top? Edgar loves it," she snapped.
"Well, nothin'... if you're meetin' a Tinder date in the parkin' lot of a Kmart," I summarized.
"Listen you little twerp!" she roared while simultaneously grabbin' me somewhere guaranteed to make a man listen. "This's stressful enough without your condescending commentary, so I'd suggest you put a lid on it if you wanna end the day with the limited functionality you've still got in this pinky you call a dick," she snarled.
"Alright! Alright! I'm sorry! Cripes Almighty Mrs. Krueger, don'tcha think you're overdue for a manicure?!" I squealed, tryin' not to cry like a little girl. "Alls I meant was you gotta finesse these people. They ain't like us - they hafta pretend they don't like tits or else they'll get fired and end up managin' a Burger King in Twin Falls," I explained.
"Well, unless there's a side to you I dunno about I don't see where I'm gonna get a change of clothes," she seethed.
"It just so happens that I'm both wholly heterosexual AND in possession of a suitable blouse," I gloated. "Here, Mrs. Sadie shucked it in my direction right before she started runnin' topless through town tryna escape a leech that'd suctioned itself to 'er when we went tubin' awhile back," I explained as I pulled said garment out from under a coupla pizza boxes.
"Whatever. I guess if you think it'll help," she shrugged.
"Great. Now, so long as none of those guys over there starin' at ya changin' clothes in the parkin' lot are on the parole committee we're golden, " I assured 'er.
The hearing was actually goin' real well - too well, due in no small part to Norman bein' a terrifying sociopath who seemed to anticipate the questions and know exactly what those turkeys wanted to hear to the point that I couldn't help but notice they were minutes away from lettin' Hannibal Lecter walk free on good behavior.
"Unless anyone has anything to add, we will adjourn to make our decision," the chunkhead in charge announced.
"Hang on a sec, I'll be right back," I hollered before boltin' for the Topaz.
I don't wanna brag or anything, but when I was a kid I was in the Boy Scouts for two whole weeks until I accidentally whipped a flamin' marshmallow into Willie Forsythe's naturally occurrin' grease perm and got kicked out for makin' 'im look like Fire Marshall Bill from In Living Color, but that's not important. What I meant to say was, I learned a lot about bein' prepared, and it just so happened that I had a Sears Wish Book from 1989 in the trunk of the Topaz to deal with any roadside gastric emergencies that may crop up in areas with minimal restroom facilities. Anyway, I grabbed the catalog, ran back inside, and proceeded to take over the hearin' like we were all in an old Matlock rerun.
"Norman, you say you're rehabilitated and that you're sorry for what you did that Christmas Eve at Hammer Time Hardware in front of a line of children waitin' patiently to beg a fat, chronically unemployed deadbeat for a Nerf blast-a-ball or a Barbie convertible, is that correct?" I asked.
Yes, sir," Norman smiled with this Damien-esque grin that all but screams: "when I get outta here, you're next."
"Fair enough. Just do everyone a quick favor and I'll go warm up the car for ya," I promised.
"Sure thing," Norman squinted, tryna work out what kinda angle I was workin'.
"Very good. All I want you to do is... TAKE A LOOK AT THIS!" I howled as I thrust the Sears catalog and its heartwarming rendering of jolly old Saint Nick right square into his horrified face. Security was able to pull the little troll off me with only a minimal loss of facial tissue, but the resulting psychotic break proved to the parole board he was clearly unfit to walk free among the populace on the basis that he may reenact scenes from Don't Open Till Christmas, and it probably goes without saying, but absolutely nobody wants to see that.
Norman's next hearing ain't till 2023, and I fully expected Bambi to kick my head in with 'er platform leather punk boots the moment we stepped outta the buildin', but she took no aggressive posture nor spoke a single word, and we drove in silence for a good hour and a half.
"You need the john?" I offered as we passed the two-mile warnin' sign.
"I'm good for a while," she mumbled.
"Sorry I hadda do that, but--"
"How did you know?!" she suddenly burst out and dang near made me scrape off my rear-view mirror on the side of an 18-wheeler.
"I dunno! The Omen, Mikey, Bloody Birthday, The Blood on Satan's Claw? Better question'd be why didn't the 'experts' see it?" I babbled, still recovering from the unexpected outburst.
"He's a monster," she muttered, lost in a Percodan stare of eternity.
"Yep. Him and everyone else under the age of 30," I joked.
"Can they fix him?" she half asked, half wondered aloud.
"He'll be alright. Just give 'em some time to get their flashlights inside his head so they can figure out what needs recalibrated," I tried assurin' 'er.
"You believe that?" she asked.
"Absolutely. That or he'll break out, murder me, and come home to ya wearin' my face," I grinned maniacally.
"That's all I need, a Leatherface with terrible fashion sense," she chuckled.
"Anything I can do to help?" I offered.
"Yeah, but you wouldn't," she smirked.
"See, we were THIS close to bein' civilized people there for a minute, and you hadda go ruin it," I grumbled.
It's prolly just as well nothin' happened and not just 'cause she's married; rather, about three miles beyond the rest area the Tijuana Tom's in 'er bowels launched a second offensive and... well, you see now why I carry the Sears catalog.
Once we made it back to town I dropped 'er off at the Videodome and left Edgar to sort out the rest of 'er complexes and undergarment predicaments and drove home to see how bad Shankles'd trashed the kitchen on account of his dinner bein' late - was about a 7 on a scale of 1 to "burn it down and start over", in case you were wonderin'. Anyway, after I got all the possum urine scrubbed outta the pots and pans Apollo and me stretched out on the hide-a-bed and checked out the Chainsaw remake's prequel in honor of little Norman gettin' the help he needs to keep from growin' up to turn tourists into sloppy joe fixins. Now, as you may recall, non-'80s remakes and I've had an oil and water type relationship for a while now, but in this case we're talkin' about a continuation of a remake, so I'm not gonna let the fact that Chainsaw shoulda never been remade and that the subsequent effort to do so turned out about like an Alpo burrito influence my judgment, and just to show that there're no hard feelins, I'm gonna prove I can be objective by relayin' three observations I'm grateful to've uncovered due to the existence of this follow-up cash grab. First, when a pregnant woman says she needs a bathroom you either find 'er one, or you become one. Second, if all lives truly matter then there'd best be no qualms about rescuin' dumpster babies from slaughterhouse alleyways. And third, if gettin' your hooks into someone requires a trip to the sportin' goods store, you might be a redneck.
The movie begins in August 1939, where the benefits of FDR's New Deal come too late to empower the lone meat packer in a Texas slaughterhouse whose water breaks while she's wrappin' up tenderloins on the production line. Trouble is, it's six hours until 'er next federally mandated rest period, so she has no choice but to birth the ugly little twat goblin out into a pile of hay like he's the bumpkin messiah and hope she stops bleedin' before any ribeyes hit the ground and get mixed in with the placenta. Unfortunately she ends up dyin' due to complications stemmin' from prolonged exposure to honky-tonk dive bars and DDT contaminated jackalope vittles, and once the foreman determines the baby lacks the manual dexterity required to carve gristle from a ribeye, he deposits the kid in the dumpster like the pastor's daughter on prom night. Fortunately, the baby is rescued by a bargain shopper searchin' for discount trash tripe who takes it home to be nurtured with compassion and understanding by Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey. Next thing it's July 1969, and the slaughterhouse is bein' shut down by the FDA for exceedin' the federally recommended allowance of hayseed semen in the rump roast, and the chill'un of the cornpone (Thomas Hewitt) is so P.O.'d about bein' laid off that he takes his sledgehammer into the boss's office and shows 'im how to prepare a proper severance package. Meanwhile, two Vietnam draftees (Dean and Eric) and their chicks (Chrissie and Bailey) are on a road trip checkin' out everything America has to offer so they'll feel like they died for a good cause in the event they're ambushed by Viet Cong tunnel rats beneath the surface of Da Nang, when all the sudden a buncha bikers ride up alongside 'em and give their Jeep the Rodney King treatment for failin' to yield right-of-way to the motorists with the highest percentage of overall body hair.
While that's goin' on, the sheriff discovers all the extra corners Baby Hewitt's installed in the frame of the slaughterhouse foreman, and so he hasta go pick up Ermey so he can talk sense to Mount Crushmore and keep 'im from turnin' the sheriff into Hamburger Helper lawsagna when he goes to arrest 'im. 'Course Ermey ain't about to turn traitor on his own kin, and when they find junior walkin' down the road towards the ole homestead Ermey takes the sheriff's scattergun and blasts the thin blue line into a thick red puddle before takin' his badge and claimin' the mantle for 'imself. This is obviously a slaughtershed moment in Ermey's life, and as soon as he and the boy get the cop corpse home they garnish it with parsley, say grace, and vow never to forsake their little slice of heaven even if the job market and any hope for genetic diversity do. The next mornin' the kids stop at a backcountry gas station so they can use the can and not buy any of the custom souvenir taxidermy painstakingly crafted durin' arts and crafts time at the local daycare center. Only when they get back out on the road this biker broad with a sawed-off shotgun comes up on 'em while the brothers're havin' a 50mph dispute over the pros and cons of havin' your lungs dissolved into pig slop by untested defoliant in order to convert godless commies to Capitalism, and they're so distracted that they don't notice somebody's jay walkin' limousine beef crossin' the road and they end up with a wad of pepper steak sizzlin' on their engine block after rollin' their Jeep into a Borg cube.
Then Ermey shows up to render assistance by puttin' a 12 gauge slug into the biker bandito's belly button and extractin' the twisted metal embedded in one of Bailey's airbags without the aid of anesthetic or proper medical trainin', but things really start goin' south when Ermey finds Dean's singed draft card. Ermey is beyond P.O.'d. He's gonna need a half dozen Valium to get calmed back down to P.O.'d, and once he radios for Uncle Monty to come collect the Jeep heap he hauls the kids home so he can tie the guys up in the barn and seal Eric's face up in Glad wrap to find out who the deserter is and just what happened in their childhood to make 'em grow up to become such an un-American commie pinko treason weasel jackwagon. Dean finally comes clean and tells Ermey it was his draft notice and that he's the Cong humpin', Jane Fonda worshippin', no good red under the bed till Ermey's satisfied and cuts Eric some slack and an airhole. Then Ermey cuts Dean loose so he can kick the crap out of 'im and put 'im through boot camp in the space of about five minutes while tellin' 'im about how soft his generation is on account of the Geneva convention, and that in his day gettin' captured meant bein' stuck in a P.O.W. camp where you and your platoon mates drew lotto numbers to decide who became the soup of the day. This goes on until Ermey's pretty well blanket partied out and Dean's been reduced to a private pile of plasma, 'cept Ermey don't know that Chrissie managed to avoid capture by Supergirlin' through the windshield when the Jeep became a Carfax casualty report, and she's able to flag down Carly Davidson's boyfriend (Holden) and point 'im in the direction of Ermey's barracks. Meanwhile, at chateau banjo, Eric manages to get loose and extricate Bailey from the family's desiccated plantation house before she's done in by the polite small talk of southern fat women. Thinking quickly, Eric constructs a makeshift barricade in the kitchen entryway using nothing but a dinner table and a 400lb gravy sponge masquerading as a woman, but Bailey's near escape fails when Thomas the Tank Skingine runs down 'er commandeered tow truck and manages to get his meat hooks in 'er.
Dang good hustle on Eric's part, but ultimately Ermey negotiates the blubbercade and Eric ends up downstairs strapped to the butcher's block of Cruelia Child, while Dean's outside steppin' in a bear trap and gettin' a lecture from Ermey about the importance of mine sweepin' operations in enemy territory. Eventually Chrissie and the motor psycho locate the house and Holden's so P.O.'d about all the drinkin' time he's lost that he walks in and blows the right kneecap offa Uncle Monty and threatens to corpse-martial Ermey if he don't take 'im to his old lady, only he ends up causin' such a ruckus that the man downstairs hears what's goin' on, grabs his intruder removal equipment, and ruins four bucks wortha discount flooring from Shaggy's Carpet Castle while cuttin' Holden in half like a cheese sammich at Gramma's house. While that's goin' on, Chrissie finds Eric in the basement lookin' like he's been playin' Truth or Dare with the Cenobites and ends up havin' to hide under the table while Buzz Sawldrin extends the crack in Eric's hinder as far as he can without messin' up the purty face he's gonna need to reinvent himself, and Chrissie manages to avoid detection when Ermey calls Leatherface upstairs to perform a little corrective surgery on Uncle Monty. Monty rejects the idea of amputation on the basis that he'll be too short to go on the Scrambler at the state fair, but Ermey tells the Epiderminator to do it anyway and the budding Jaquen H'ghar makes a slight miscalculation after cuttin' once and measurin' none. Fortunately, Monty comes from hardy stock, so the family wraps his nubs up with the sports section to start 'im clottin' and this provides Chrissie with the distraction she needs to escape, but as she's about to leave she hears Bailey screamin' somewhere in the house after awakening to discover what the meathook did to 'er Frederick's of Hollywood undergarments, and when Chrissie goes back for 'er she runs afoul of Ermey and ends up bein' sentenced to biker leftovers in the mess hall. That's about as far as I'm gonna take this, but we're deep, deep into homage territory at this point, so you may already know where this's goin' even if you ain't seen it.
Alrighty, so, now you know the rest of the story. I'd point out that the only problem with a prequel is that the writer's pretty well painted into a corner where it concerns the potential survival of any of its protagonists, but then that would imply people watch Chainsaw movies for the character development and a Hallmark Channel happy ending. I'm probably in the minority where it concerns this prequel, but I prefer it to the 2003 remake that spawned it. That may be because I don't subscribe to the "sins of the father" argument where anything born of an abomination must also be considered blasphemy, or it may be because R. Lee Ermey takes center stage in favor of someone who made their name starrin' in 7th Heaven, but either way, the prequel is a greater son of lesser fathers. That said, it suffers from some of the same anachronisms as the 2003 movie, ranging from minor issues like the inclusion of songs that had not yet been released at the time of the film's setting, to debilitating ones like the frequent use of shaky-cam cinematography that would have been considered unprofessional in the '70s. I'm sure there are people who would argue that just because a flick is set in a particular period that it needn't be filmed in the same style, but for my money, if you want to cash in on the success of someone else's work, it seems like a given that you would also want to make it as authentic as possible to help tap into the things that made the original successful. Both this prequel and its progenitor were filmed in the 2000s, and very little effort was made to make it look otherwise. Admittedly, this sorta thing isn't going to bother casual horror fans, and that's fine, but for many dedicated genre fans, what these remakes ultimately instill with their use of modern film techniques, is a desire to simply turn them off and go watch the original version instead. Still, it benefits greatly from the fact that we must compare it to the remake that sired it, whereas the remake is, and always will be, indelibly linked to Tobe Hooper's original. Thus, because our basis of comparison for this prequel is a movie that should never have been made and had no chance of living up to the legend of its predecessor, the prequel comes with a clean slate attached, and a greater opportunity to succeed with bitter old cranks like myself. It's basically the cinematic equivalent of being the youngest child in the Manson family - you don't exactly have to make the honor roll in order to become the favorite.
All the same, I'm not lettin' it off easy just because its older brother played meat shield for it in the hope that it might develop a following, so let's unwrap this hamburger and see how much hair got ground in with it. The plot tells Leatherface's origin story in a competent, if predictable fashion. There are a few details that're a little shaky, like, ya know, the slaughterhouse foreman keeping a chainsaw on his desk, or the sheriff assuming the adopted father of a backwater genetic mutant is just gonna help arrest 'im, but broadly speaking it's fine... right up to the last three minutes where we're treated to what may be the most egregious example of the teleporting horror villain in the history of film. I understand that there's an obligation on the part of the writers to try to make the audience believe the protagonist has a chance of escaping in spite of the fact that such a thing would make the events of the remake a very tough sell, but the way they went about, and then dashed that hope, was simultaneously so stupid that you'd assume they wouldn't dare try it, while somehow knowing they were gonna try it. Essentially, they completed a cross-country road trip largely free of incident, and then took the turn into their driveway too sharp and plowed into a fire hydrant. And the worst part is that you're left reeling by how absurd it is to enjoy the fact that they were able, again, to get John Larroquette to return for a brief voice-over homage to the 1974 original. Totally stuck their dicks in the toaster right at the end, I have no words or explanation for it.
The acting is an improvement over the remake that preceded it for no other reason than R. Lee Ermey gets more screen time and better one-liners, including, but not limited to: "Shit, I just killed the whole fuckin' sheriff's department!" I'm not sayin' it reaches the same poetic heights as Full Metal Jacket, but the added screentime for the chainsaw family is definitely a plus because the protagonists aren't any more believable as children of the flower generation than they were in the 2003 flick. The brothers are given a little time to flesh out their characters so as to engender some sympathy, while their girlfriends are given no such consideration despite Jordana Brewster outlasting the men to achieve final girl status. You could argue that they made this choice because they didn't want to telegraph who would survive the longest, but that level of foresight is pretty hard to swallow when you've seen the conclusion of this movie and, by proxy, what the perceived IQ of their intended audience was estimated to be. In any event, Matt Bomer is pretty good as the pro-Vietnam elder brother constantly having to pull his friends' hinders outta the fire, Terrance Evans does a nice job as the returning, fully ambulatory Uncle Monty, and Marietta Marich is allowed to shine more than the last go-around as the morally righteous cannibal matriarch, Luda Mae. Pretty good stuff from Lee Turgeson as the P.O.'d biker in search of his murdered woman and Lew Temple as the doomed Sheriff Winston as well, but the rest of the cast is middling.
Here's who matters and why (less R. Lee Ermey and John Larroquette, with whom we should already be well acquainted): Jordana Brewster (The Faculty), Taylor Handley (Bird Box, Toxin), Diora Baird (Stan Helsing, 30 Days of Night 2, Night of the Demons 2009, Star Trek 2009, Brain Blockers), Andrew Bryniarski (Batman Returns, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003, Mother's Day 2010, Dracula's Guest, Rollerball, Cyborg 3, Dragonfight), Lee Turgesen (Monster 2003, The Forgotten 2004, Cast a Deadly Spell, Mind Benders), Terrence Evans (Terminator 2, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003, The Pumpkin Carver, Crocodile 2000, Alien Nation: Dark Horizon, Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge, The Curse II), Kathy Lamkin (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003), Marietta Marich (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003, House of Good and Evil, Children of the Corn IV), Tim DeZarn (The Cabin in the Woods, Spider-Man, Wrong Turn 2021, The Hatred, Re-Cut, I Married a Monster, Steel, Alien Nation: The Udara Legacy, Demon Knight), Lew Temple (The Devil's Rejects, Between the Darkness, 31, Zombex, House of Forbidden Secrets, Silent Night Zombie Night, Someone's Knocking at the Door, House 2008, No Man's Land: The Rise of Reeker, Trailer Park of Terror, Halloween 2007, The Visitation, Limbo, Becoming, Hacked), Cyia Batten (Killer Movie), Melody Chase (Beneath the Darkness, Untitled Horror Comedy), Heather Kafka (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003), Emily Kaye (Zombex).
The following is a list of people who thought they could ride Leatherface's coattails to something better: Jordana Brewster (Mia in The Fast and the Furious series, Maureen Cahill on Lethal Weapon the series, Elena Ramos on the Dallas reboot, Nikki Munson on As the World Turns), Matt Bomer (Larry Trainor on Doom Patrol, Neal Caffrey on White Collar), Lee Turgeson (Terry in Wayne's World 1 & 2, Evan Wright in Generation Kill, Chett Donnelly on Weird Science the series), Cyia Batten (Stacey in Charlie Wilson's War).
The special effects are fewer and less impressive than the 2003 version, and there's a concerted effort at work to imply rather than show the results of the carnage. Not sure if this was budget-related, time-related, or because the director didn't want to get pigeon-holed as a purveyor of brutality before he got the chance to showcase his vision of life as a 14th Century Polynesian peasant whose days are spent tirelessly carving grim stone statues with expressions not unlike a man trying to determine who cut one, but in any event, the gore's a little less ambitious here. The blood is spot on in terms of both consistency and color, but the baby birthed by the slaughterhouse employee in the opening sequence is fairly rubbery and inarticulate in its movements. The exploding cow is effective despite its limited screentime, the bisected biker looks alright, and the all-too-brief shots of chainsaws penetrating torsos are okay, but the throat slitting at the dinner table scene is very latexy, and there're two shotgun blasts to the gutbucket that you don't get to see at all. So there's evidence to suggest that some of what didn't make it out of the editing room was cut because it didn't turn out so well, but it's worth mentioning that, despite a few imperfect effects, the use of CGI was practically non-existent if it was present at all, and that's a big win.
The shooting locations are largely carry-overs from the remake, and the decaying plantation house looks as good as it did in the previous film. In a way, it's more interesting (at least externally) than the house from the 1974 movie, but the impoverished, creepy aesthetic only works because the remake's backstory changed to include a subplot about the entire town going under, where the original movie includes a cannibal clan member trying to maintain an outward appearance of normalcy. Both the 2003 remake and this prequel were filmed around Austin, Texas, so the highway sequences and other exteriors ring true as geographically congruent - my one objection is the interior of the slaughterhouse, which is so small that a single employee can wrap everything that comes down the production line. It doesn't *look* bad, mind you, it's just very unrealistic. Nonetheless, the shooting locations and sets are well scouted/constructed, and boost the flick's atmosphere tremendously.
The soundtrack doesn't have a lot of variety, but the tone of the movie doesn't change much throughout the course of its running time and thus, a suspenseful, simple soundtrack works just fine. Steve Jablonsky returned to compose for the sequel, and his score is dark, ominous, and permeates an effective sense of dread while lurking in the background, content to defer to the action on screen. This approach was the correct one to take because even though it would be eccentric to try recreating the clinical atmosphere and nearly non-existent scoring of the original 1974 Chainsaw, these largely unintrusive tracks help retain the minimalistic method as much as can be expected in the year 2006. Don't get me wrong, they come to life dramatically when the action calls for it, but it seems like they've done the best they could not to trample tradition.
Overall, the prequel is technically inferior to the remake, but far more enjoyable as it lacks the baggage accrued by trying to one-up the greatest horror flick ever made, as well as the expectations that come with said blasphemy. If you liked the remake, you'll like the prequel, and if you hated the remake, you may find yourself with the degree of separation needed to view the prequel objectively, as I have. Or you might be even crankier than I am and hate it just as much for bein' a byproduct of Marcus Nispel's audacity. Regardless, nothin' I say's gonna change the way people feel about this one, so figure out where you fit and act accordingly.