In 1939, a woman dies while giving birth in a slaughterhouse, and the manager attempts to dispose of the baby by leaving him in a dumpster. A young woman, Luda Mae Hewitt, finds the child, takes him back to the Hewitt residence, names him Thomas, and decides to raise him as her own. Thirty years later, Thomas, also known as Tommy, is working in the slaughterhouse under the same manager. When the plant is shut down by the health department, he refuses to leave until the manager forces him to. Later, Tommy returns, murders the manager, and then finds a chainsaw. Luda Mae's son, Charlie Hewitt, kills the sheriff "Hoyt" to prevent him from arresting Tommy. He then assumes his identity and takes his body back home to use for stew meat.
Meanwhile, two brothers, Eric and Dean, are driving across the country with their girlfriends, Chrissie and Bailey, to enlist in the Vietnam War. At a diner, they meet a female biker named Alex, who follows them. Alex soon draws a shotgun and orders the group to pull over. In the ensuing chaos, the car crashes, with Chrissie being thrown out into a field out of sight. Hoyt arrives and immediately kills Alex. After making them put Alex's body in his car, Hoyt forces the group in as well, and calls for Uncle Monty to tow the wreckage, where Chrissie has hidden. Hoyt drives them to the Hewitt house where he has Tommy butcher Alex's body. He then holds Eric, Dean and Bailey hostage. As Monty brings the wrecked car back to the house, Chrissie escapes and flags down Holden, Alex's boyfriend, who follows her back to the house.
At the house, Hoyt tortures Dean after finding out he had been intending to dodge the Vietnam War draft. When Hoyt leaves, Eric breaks free from his restraints and gets Dean to safety before sneaking into the house to free Bailey. In the process, Dean is caught in a bear trap and Hoyt knocks Eric unconscious. Bailey escapes in Monty's truck, but Tommy stabs her in the shoulder with a meat hook and drags her back to the house. Meanwhile, Holden and Chrissie arrive at the house but part ways to search for their friends. Chrissie finds Dean, while Holden takes Hoyt hostage, ordering him to take him to Alex. Hoyt calls to Tommy for help; Tommy arrives and kills Holden with the chainsaw. Chrissie finds Eric in the basement but is unable to free him, and hides when Tommy returns. Tommy inspects Eric's face before killing him with the chainsaw, skinning his face, and wearing it as a mask.
Chrissie is about to flee when she hears Bailey's screams and decides to go back and save her. She finds her upstairs, but Hoyt catches her and brings her downstairs for dinner, along with Bailey and an unconscious Dean. Leatherface kills Bailey and tries to take Chrissie to the basement, but she stabs him in the back and jumps out of a window. Dean regains consciousness and beats Hoyt before heading off to find Chrissie. Chrissie enters the slaughterhouse, and after noticing that Leatherface has tracked her, she grabs a knife and cuts Leatherface's face, but he overpowers her. Dean intervenes, but Leatherface kills him with the chainsaw. Chrissie escapes, hijacks an abandoned car, and drives off. She sees a state trooper in the distance, but as Chrissie pulls over, Leatherface appears in the backseat and impales her with the chainsaw, causing her to lose control and run over both the trooper and the man he pulled over. Leatherface then exits the car and walks along the road back towards the Hewitt house.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning was released on October 6, 2006 in 2,820 theaters, debuting at #2 at the box office, grossing $18,508,228 on its first weekend. Its second week saw a 59.6% drop in attendance, grossing only $7,485,290 and coming in at #5 at the box office. During its third week it grossed $3,779,829 and came in at #10 at the box office. The film dropped out of the top ten and into eighteenth place with $1,269,942. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning would fail to regain a top ten spot at the box office for the remainder of its theatrical run, ending with $51,764,406 in total gross.
The film received largely negative reviews from critics. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 12% "rotten" rating, based on 83 reviews, with an average rating of 3.4/10. The site's consensus states: "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning is full of blood and gore, but not enough scares or a coherent story to make for a successful horror film." Metacritic reports a 29 out of 100 rating, based on 18 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Peter Travers from Rolling Stone awarded the film zero stars, calling the film "putridly written, directed and acted", also criticizing the film's obvious plot turns. Nathan Lee from The New York Times panned the film calling it "an invitation to hard-core sadism". At the 27th Golden Raspberry Awards (2006), the film was nominated for a Worst Prequel or Sequel, but lost to Basic Instinct 2.