The Toolbox Murders(2004) no spoilers

Discussion in 'Reader Reviews' started by thegreeninferno, Aug 1, 2004.

  1. Just back from the Flashback Weekend convention in Rosemont, IL...
    The main feature at the Horrorama drive-in this evening was Tobe Hooper's retelling of the sleazy 70's slasher of the same title. The lovely Angela Bettis introduced the film as not being a remake, but simply a film using the same title and gritty look/feel, to which I would mostly agree.
    I had not read up much on this particular fact, I didn't even know it was completed, so I got to see a new horror film with an untarnished mind for a change. Must add I was pleasantly surprised. Oh yeah the movie...
    Nell(Ms. Bettis) and her young doctor husband Steven have just moved from Rhode Island into a creepy old apartment building in L.A. The place is (allegedly) being renovated, the walls are acoustically transparent, and there are lots of quirky characters residing there. And plaques with strange symbols all around the joint. Oh...and I almost forgot, there are also murders. Gory f'ed up ones involving tools! YAYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!
    I enjoyed this film very much. Its a sadistic old school slasher. It reminded me quite a bit of Hooper's 'The Funhouse', but much gorier and less dull. Sure, the plot has its dumb and illogical moments...but I mean this film is called The Toolbox Murders...whattaya expect?!? There are red herrings galore and some cliches. However, the acting is alright, the camerawork and sets are atmospheric and spooky, even Argentoesque. And the killer is brutal...these aren't quick deaths, they hurt. Plus: no teenyboppers!
    If you enjoyed 'Hell Night' or 'My Bloody Valentine' I think you'll enjoy this. I'll give it 3 1/2 out of 5 claw-hammers in the head.

    Oh yeah, I said no spoilers, but I can tell ya what tools are included in this
    toolbox can't I?

    Claw hammer
    Big F'ing power drill
    Rotary saw
    Bolt Cutters
    Ridiculously big rotary saw

    oh yeah...thats good times!
  2. RyanPC

    RyanPC Guest

    I liked Hell Night, and while I liked the original Toolbox Murders the first time around, I feel asleep the second time I tried watching it. This remake sounds very good. The thing is, people say it's a remake in name only but the plot sounds quite similar. What's the deal?
  3. Grim

    Grim Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2002
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    Baltimore, MD
    The original Toolbox Murders bored me, not to mention my disc crapped out after two viewings, then, after two replacements, I returned it and got Footloose. I will check out the remake, though.
  4. Well, the basic premise is the same.
    Its different from the original in the basic nature of the killer,
    which I cannot divulge without spoiling anything.
    Lets say the movie has a more supernatural bent than the original and leave it at that.
    I really hope this gets a wide theatrical release.
    It definitely blows away crap like House of the Dead and Jeepers Creepers 2.
  5. life_o_petey

    life_o_petey Guest

    thanks for the review. i've been looking forward to seeing this, and it looks like it won't disappoint.
  6. Katatonia

    Katatonia Hellbound Heart

    Jun 12, 2003
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    This is one film which I've been eagerly awaiting to see. Thanks much for the review!
  7. KamuiX

    KamuiX The Eighth Samurai

    Mar 19, 2004
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    Baltimore, MD
    I've seen it, and I can safely say it's Hoopers best film since probably TCM2. I know, that doesn't say much. On an entertainment level, the film is definitely fun and has some really amusing dark humor, but as a film, it felt like it was missing something IMO. The story seemed a bit empty in the end, and it almost felt like an overly long episode of Tales from the Crypt, or a show along those line, instead of a feature film. I can recommend it for brainless fun delivers in that department. I'm actually looking forward to Hooper's next film, instead of dreading it, so that's a good thing ;)
  8. Tuzotonic

    Tuzotonic Guest

    I'm actually happy to hear a good review on a Hooper movie. He needs the career revival. I'm been interesting in seeing this since I first heard about it. Count me in as one who will see it as soon as it comes out.
  9. I will check this one out whenever it comes out as well.
  10. adric

    adric New Member

    May 10, 2004
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    D-Town Illinois
    i liked this movie. although i never bothered seeing the original. i thought it was good for some good gory fun that didnt make me think to hard. i recommend.
  11. Sean Brady

    Sean Brady Guest

    I saw this on DVD last week and thought it was pretty impressive. It's certainly Hoopers best film since The Texas Chainsaw Massacre...extremely atmospheric, memorable characters and some cool and original ideas in the storyline. If you have a good surround sound system, crank it up as I almost jumped out of my skin a few times, something that rarely happens when I'm watching a modern horror film. Thoroughly recommended.
  12. Morg

    Morg Guest

    Cool, look forward to this. I guess I'm probably a much bigger fan of the original than present company, but I'm happy to hear that this isn't just a retelling of the original. If it were, I'd just slip my old disk in...
  13. Joni Backman

    Joni Backman New Member

    Jul 21, 2002
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    I watched the Dutch DVD yesterday and was very pleased with the movie.

    After the Scream-period it's nice to see slasher which has only couple scenes with (pitch black) humor.

    Few of the murderscenes are so gruesome and brutal it would be interesting to know if the same version is playing in U.S.cinemas with R-rating.
  14. Crystal Plumage

    Crystal Plumage Dig me..but don't bury me

    Apr 10, 2003
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    The Court of the Crimson King
  15. ScarredGod

    ScarredGod Guest

    this was posted by Don May Jr at the mobius forum...

    "Angela Bettis told my business partner at a show recently that the film was, she thought, still unfinished and that the ending was a result of running out of money."

    did it feel that way to anyone else?
  16. Cujo108

    Cujo108 Guest

    This is quite an excellent little film, probably Hooper's best work since The Funhouse. The apartment complex is a very appropriate and grimy setting, and virtually oozes atmosphere out of its walls. It didn't even feel like a L.A. complex to me. It seemed like one in a much less populated area, which is a good thing. The film also manages to achieve a nice and gritty feel

    Angela Bettis, who I love, excels in the lead role of Nell. Of course, I expected nothing less, and she's a perfect lead to hold the picture together. The other characters are pretty interesting and memorable themselves, and lend a nice oddball feel to the complex's little community. The hotel manager was pretty sleazy, yet amusing, and the handyman reminded me of Brad Dourif. Sheri Moon has a nice little cameo at the beginning.

    The film's score is really good. Very fitting, and a joy to hear. There's also some pretty sweet gore in this film, especially towards the end. The kill scenes themselves are quite cool, especially the drill and saw to the head kills, and the bolt cutter to the spine. The killer is pretty odd, and sort of reminds me of The Funhouse freak with his mannerisms towards the end. I love the idea behind his lair and how he moves about the building. The supernatural aspect with the symbols that are spread throughout the building, and the talk of black magic is a great little touch as well.

    Great film, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Its a fantastic slasher, and it actually feels a bit like a giallo to boot. Much better than the original film, and pretty underrated by most who've seen it.

    It did seem a little premature, and if they were to actually finish it, that would be sweet. Still, I think its fine if they leave it as is.
  17. Disco Stu

    Disco Stu Guest

    According to IMDB:"2/3 of the way through filming, the production ran out of money. The movie was put together from what footage was already filmed, resulting in 1/3 of the script never being made."

    I just watched it and this issue was pretty evident throughout, whole scenes of exposition and transition are simply not there, explaining how someone would know information, inserts missing, etc. They give us half of why the killer does what he does, but not enough and no particular reason he's using tools. There's a lot of padding, Angela Bettis walking around with a flashlight in the dark for 6-7 straight minutes, when 1 minute would have got the point across.

    There is one good kill and a decent set-up for the first twenty minutes with regards to the claustrophobia of that building, but the story is never fully developed, especially with regards to the black magic stuff which seems about to become relevant (avoiding spoilers here) tying into the killer's motive and giving it some immediacy to show why he's doing what he's doing right now, but it ends up being a loose end. While a slasher movie needn't have a reason for being, it is important to understand why the events we are seeing have to occur as the characters experience them and aren't just randomly thrown together. In other words, why is this all happening right now? But the movie never answers that question, even if it seems it's about to. There's an older character who has one laughable scene after another (including one where he is talking to Bettis in the laundry room about the creepy history of the building, and when she asks what he means by that, he looks at her knowingly, and then runs away without answering), and at one point he says that he knew he had to give Bettis some important information because she was "the one," though no reason is ever given what makes her special. There are pieces of a good film here and there, but you simply can't make a movie out of 65% of a script unless you knew in advance you would be shut down, and covered for it. The fact that something resembling coherence showed up on screen is a miracle. I guess for someone who loves Bettis and her Helen-Hunt-like-12head, this is worth sitting through once.

    For those who've seen it, wasn't it more than a bit shameless to have the killer look just like Leatherface in the minimal footage we see of him (which was slowed down awkwardly, obviously to elongate the lack of coverage)?

    And Cujo, I know it was a joy to hear the score and it had great little touches everywhere, but I must be informed if the movie was a gem, near absolute perfection, a favorite, a new classic, if it quite literally blew you away, and most importantly, if it ended up in your ever expanding, top 5 of all time.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 20, 2004
  18. legnadibrom

    legnadibrom Guest

    disco stu pretty much sums it up,
    i didn't know about the shortage of funds until just now,
    but without that knowledge the film is a disappointment, bettis and the storyline/plot/building are the only things worth a shit in this flick,
    scenes not involving any death or gore were the only interesting ones,
    and the last 20 minutes just drag on and end with stupidity
  19. marcx

    marcx Active Member

    Nov 28, 2002
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    Hmm--I saw this the other night and I enjopyed it...but...

    it never came together in the end--if this is budgetary its odd cause the only thing missing is a few scenes of exposition here and there filling in some plot holes--stuff that probably could have been picked up in a day or two...

    as it stands Id call it a noble effort and worth seeing--but dfinately flawed....
  20. onebyone

    onebyone Guest

    I watched this last night and am kind of torn. It was a definite old school slasher with some quality kills that filled me with slasher loving heart with glee. Thank you Tobe thank you. (If they are going to cut this stuff for the US release, the movie becomes pretty useless so get the uncut version.) Also, I adore Angela Bettis and Juliet Landau so I was happy to see them in anything.

    However, the hotel is a little too weird, Angela's character is very unconvincingly married (aka they seem like strangers), the killer is not imposing like at all, and you can for sure tell stuff is missing from the movie. I still liked it mind you, but it was obvious that it could have and probably should have been better.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2004

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