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The Toolbox Murders
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The Toolbox Murders (2003)

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Plot Summary:
"Nell and her husband Steven are looking for a business aswell as a home, where they come across the Lusman Arms apartment block. They move in and begin renovationg the building, in which a series of wierd killings take place. When she finally discovers the supernatural evil behind it all, she gets more than she bargained for!"

Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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Review Date: 03 April 2005 My Rating: out of 5


This remake of the 70's exploitation flick sees a remarkable return to form from Tobe Hooper, as he manages to make the flick both frightening and funny, whilst throwing in plenty blood and guts for splatter fans.

The amazingly talented Angela Bettis plays Nell Barrows, one half of a young couple who have just moved into an apartment in the decaying Lusman Arms, formerly hotel of choice for the Hollywood elite.

Nell tries to make herself feel at home despite some weird disturbances and a strong gut feeling that something is wrong in the building. Despite her better judgement, Nell agrees to stay until her husband can take time off from his new job to move. She begins occupying herself with researching the building's history and unfortunately for her, she uncovers something terrifying within the walls of the building.

Whilst I haven't seen the original film, I'm aware that this version is quite different, but I have to say that from what I've heard it has only improved upon the original.

This is defintely the best Tobe Hooper movie I have seen in a long long time, as he crafts a deliciously dark tale that keeps you guessing until the film's fun conclusion.

The cast of female characters who are all familiar to genre fans are excellent here as they all get to try out something different to what we have seen them tackle before.

The sets are creepy, the cinematography is good and the kills are very gory...definitely the most blood I have seen in quite a while.

When the film finished I was amazed at what a ride I had just been on until I stopped to think about things, and I quickly realised that whilst I had just had lots of fun watching this film, it didn't actually reveal any details as to why any of it happened.

Whilst I am aware that the sequel is currently in development, and I get that they were going the 'Halloween' route of holding back on motive and details in order to keep Coffin Baby scary, I felt quite annoyed that we actually have no idea what the point in the entire movie was?

Don't get me wrong, the movie was great, but I'm dying to find out the meaning behind the markings and Coffin Baby's place in the greater scheme of things.

This is the most excitingly gory slasher movie I have seen in ages!! Definitely worth checking out if you weren't lucky enough to see it during it's limited theatrical run.

Reviewer: Garth Thatchuk @horrorasylum
Location:Alberta, Canada
Review Date: 22 May 2004 My Rating: out of 5

When I first heard that someone was going to remake The Toolbox Murders I thought to myself, 'Here we go again, another half assed version of a classic that I am going to have to force myself to sit down and watch, just to say that I saw it!'. Then the 'good news' arrived, it was going to be none other then horror icon Tobe Hooper that was going to direct. I started to get excited, and for very valid reasons! I mean, this is the man that brought you the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre! The gent that directed Poltergeist! A director that had the balls to reinvent the characters that made him famous in the first place with the totally misunderstood masterpiece that is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2! I then asked myself, 'How could this project go wrong?'. Well, after seeing the movie a few days ago, I still do not know how to answer that question.

The story revolves around a young couple who just moved into a near Hollywood apartment that seems to be undergoing some serious renovations. The apartment is inhabited with your typical cast of workers and tenants: a madcap apartment manager, an introverted creepy maintenance guy, a Hispanic doorman (for comic relief), a wise old man that has lived there the majority of his life, and the struggling actress who has shed plenty of weight due to Hollywood's mean and vicious tendencies.

As people start getting killed off one by one, you start to think that this movie is your run of the mill, 'who done it' murder mystery. I can assure you that this is not what this film is. Instead we are treated to a twist in the story that I am sure confused not just me, but even the writers who wrote the film. We the viewers are treated to a mish mash of spells, curses, secret hiding places, and killers that are never explained in the least.

The kills are not very interesting, and not bloody in the least. This was the biggest surprise to me, because even the Mangler had some great gory deaths!

Ever since M. Night Shyamalan started a trend of clever surprise endings with the Sixth Sense, most Horror writers have tried to outdo themselves and come up with the mother of all twists. The majority of time, they do not work. I would like to challenge these writers and ask them to go back to the good old days, when a horror movie was allowed to be just that, a slasher film that can be lots of mindless fun. I for one miss those days

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