I finally saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning. I've been dragging my feet because I was so unenamoured of the remake. Well, this is the real remake. Something of the original film's acid-edge and gallows humor filter up through the basement drain of this flick. The 2003 remake was a pretty thing, but too much a film-school showreel. It felt like a funhouse horror show; this one feels like actually being trapped in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of... well, my relatives, only maleviolent. It took me back to the stomach-clenching anxiety I often felt as a carpet cleaner waddling into disturbing people's homes, and that's all I ask of a TCM movie.
One thing though: R. Lee Ermey's character is conciously and deliberately sadistic in a way the original film's characters weren't. The original Sawyer family was unconciously sadistic, giggling in excitement, but it came bubbling up from inside. It makes for a different family dynamic; one thug lording it over a passive and sheepish family is a bit different from the Sawyer family, in which everyone seems to have infected one another with a poisoned undercurrent of sadism.