1 star (out of four)
How many massacres has that Texas chainsaw carried out now?
I count eight, going back to Tobe Hooper's infamous mockumentary/slasher film in 1974. That's a lot of Leatherfaces, a lot of 20somethings ripped to shreds and an awful lot careers sent spiraling down the abattoir drain.
They're all pretty much the same - young people fall afoul of a family of cannibals, cannibals kept in ``meat'' by their hulking, deformed youngest member, an ex-butcher who wears the skin of some of his victims on his ``leather'' face.
That's what ``The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning'' serves up as well. It's as remorseless and disheartening as any of the others, more gory and less scary, despite efforts to inject ``plot'' and motivation into the back stories of the flesh-eaters and ``Tommy,'' the monster they took in as an infant and raised to torture and kill.
One can mull over the history of the series, of its inspiration, mass murderer Ed Gein, the bloodstained politics of it, revived by ``the new Vietnam.''
But it's so exhausted as a story and so heartlessly hateful that the temptation is to put a curse on it and all who did this latest one.
So may the lovely Jordana Brewster, ``the new Demi Moore'' (''Annapolis''), sit through it with her mom, ex-model Maria Joao, and investment banker dad in the audience. Maybe her class at Yale could come along, too. Let them experience the pride of watching their friend or daughter ``acting,'' bathed in blood, chased by a madman.
Have Taylor Handley, as Dean, the guy hoping to avoid going to Vietnam (the movie is set in 1969), bring along his Santa Barbara parents.
And Texas native and ex-soap star Matthew Bomer, who plays Eric, the vet returning to `Nam so that he can be with his younger brother (Dean)? Let him sit with his mama so she can see what he was willing to participate in for a paycheck. Maybe let mama ask him, ``I thought that nice Brett Ratner was going to have you play Superman?''
Let all the parents see what the shaking a chainsaw up the spinal column might induce, and ponder where they went wrong.
R. Lee Ermey, the ex-Marine who built a career out of playing military men, has now been in the past two of these massacres as the patriarch. He should see it, too, with a T-shirt that says ``I used to work for Coppola and Kubrick. Now, cussing and gutting is all they let me do.''
The South African who directed it, the two hacks who dared take screenplay and story credit for this recycle-job? Let them fade into the mists of movie history, condemned to porn and industrial films. Whatever jolts hearing that chainsaw rev up once offered, they're long gone. Whatever vicarious thrill the movies might have delivered as we identified with victims trying to escape a nightmare take a back seat to cynical Hollywood exploitation. Splash a bucket of fake blood on it, and it'll make money these days.
You can't make the audience stay home. And censorship is wrong.
But that doesn't let this cast and crew off the hook. You all ought to be ashamed. And if you aren't, your parents should be.
'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning'
Cast: Jordana Brewster, Taylor Handley, Matthew Bomer, Diora Baird, R. Lee Ermey. Director: Jonathan Liebsman. Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes. Industry rating: R for strong horror violence/gore, language and some sexual contentCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times