Remakes are never given an easy ride full stop. Remakes of classics are critically doomed before they're even filmed. And prequels to remakes of classics... well, most people wouldn't even go there.
Like it or not, the ultimate shock film of the 1970s aka the Texas Chainsaw Massacre was remade in 2003. And, believe it or not, it did pretty well - to my knowledge, ranking it alongside the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead as pretty much the only two good horror remakes ever worth watching. Therefore, a sequel was drawn up, only, if you watched the 2003 version, you probably knew that a sequel was going to be tricky (death of major characters and all that). Therefore, step forward the prequel...
Full marks to the makers for keeping it in the same vein as the 2003 version - they might as well have been filmed at the same time. The story kicks off a few years ago and interweaves two brothers and their girlfriends, travelling through Texas, with the family from hell and how they came to be that way. There's plenty of chainsaw-related gore and if follows the same formula pretty closely. Men all over the world will be sad to hear that - of course - Jessica Biel isn't in the lead role, but Jordana Brewster does her best to fill Jessica's shoes as she runs, bloadsoaked, from Leatherface.
It was never going to be a masterpiece, but it's a good addition to the (modern) Texas Chainsaw myth. The four unfortunate teenagers play their roles as well as any chainsaw-fodder can (and thankfully they don't do too many stupid mistakes which make you WANT them to end up skewered by a rotating blade), Leatherface is still pretty creepy, but, in my opinion R. Lee Ermey steals every scene as the psychotic Patriarch of the family. I wonder how many people have taken him up on an invite to dinner since he made this film?
Unpleasant and disturbing (as it should be).