- Format: NTSC
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English, Spanish
- Dubbed: French, Spanish
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
- Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
- Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00079HZY8
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 170,651 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Toolbox Murders [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Every year thousands of people move to Hollywood to pursue their dreams. Some succeed. Some go home. Others just... disappear. There are bad apartments - rats, bad plumbing, crazy landlords - and then there's the Lusman building. Something evil lives deep in the building itself, something linked to the architecture itself... something that needs to keep killing to stay alive.
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The story takes place in the Lunsford Hotel, which is full of "history" and "character" (which means it's begging to be condemned by this point). Steve and Nell Barrows (Brent Roam and Angela Bettis) move into the place and quickly realize that signing the lease was a big mistake. Nothing works right, the whole place is supposedly being remodeled (which apparently means the crud is being shifted around against a backdrop of constant hammering), the landlord is a prissy jerk, the maintenance man is one step up from a Neanderthal, and the residents are weird and loud. Nell begins hearing things left and right, but everyone treats her like she's just paranoid. When she actually makes a friend, said friend quickly disappears, and Nell is convinced something happened to her. She explores the history of the building, finding out that the strange symbols all over the place actually represent some kind of spell. Like an idiot, she explores the mystery up-close and gets a lot of people killed by the inhuman murderer (whose identity I can guess but not confirm). The fright scenes might make some folks jump once or twice, but the "look out behind you" tactics of the 1970s just aren't that impressive here in the twenty-first century.
Alongside several holes in the plot, a lot of details bothered me. First and foremost, what husband is going to lease an apartment without talking to his wife first - that's a recipe for marital unhappiness in and of itself. Then you have Nell going down to wash clothes on the night the Barrows move in. Who, I ask you, brings along dirty clothes on a move and insists on washing them before unpacking has really even begun? And that incredibly weird maintenance man Ned - talk about your obvious suspect.
We're missing what's really important here, though. That would be the inclusion of Juliet Landau, the sexiest vampire to ever grace the screen (as Drusilla in the Buffyverse). She was certainly one of my main motivations for seeing this film. Much to my surprise, though, she has nothing of the Drusilla aura about her, looking quite pale and sickly early on (except when compared to the emaciated Angela Bettis). Still, she brings a presence to the film that no other character begins to match.
I don't have a problem with the gore - you can never have too much gore, in my opinion. It would have been nice if the lighting had actually allowed me to see more of it, but I appreciate it being there. Sadly, that's about all there is to this movie, though - gore and 70s-style scares. The Lunsford building doesn't even have a strong presence of evil (despite the fact that the actual location is the Ambassador Hotel where RFK was assassinated) - it's just too depressing to be scary. I'm glad that some other horror fans enjoyed this movie, but Toolbox Murders just didn't too all that much for me.
It's a remake of the 1978 film of the same name, but apart from people getting killed with different tools they're nothing alike. It starts off similar, but about thirty minutes in it goes in a completely different direction. Angela Bettis gives a pretty good performance as Nell, but she's so skinny in this that she looks ill. Brent Roam was decent as her husband Steven, I knew him from The Shield and was suprised when I found out he gave up acting shortly after this. There's a few familiar faces among the supporting cast, Juliet Landau who played Drusilla in Buffy and Angel, Sheri Moon Zombie, Marco Rodriguez and Rance Howard.
Between 1974 and 1986, Tobe Hooper directed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its first sequel, Death Trap, Salem's Lot, The Funhouse, Poltergeist and Life Force, all films I own and really like. After that run of movies, he made terrible movie after terrible movie including the atrocious Spontaneous Combustion, The Mangler and Crocodile. The Toolbox Murders is by far his best movie in eighteen years, many reviews stated that this is the film that's going to put him back on the map. Unfortunately he followed it up with the abysmal Mortuary, two okay episodes of Masters Of Horror and he's just finished a film called Djinn that looks shockingly bad. The Toolbox Murders 2 has just finished around the same time and is directed by a first time director called Dean Jones. I've no idea why Hooper didn't direct, but it's a shame as I was hoping for another mini comeback.
There's some great gore in this film, hammer to the head, nail gun, acid to the face, heads severed and bodies split in half. The excessive gore makes up for the lack of plot, some would call it gratuitous but I'm not one of them. The make up on the killer looks excellent, but he has bandages wrapped around his face for most of the time we see him. The Toolbox Murders is not even close to being a great movie, but if you happen to be a fan of Hooper's early work and want to see his best film by far in the last twenty-five years, it's well worth getting. If you're just interested in getting some Tobe Hooper movies, then I'd strongly advise any of his earlier movies over this.
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Most recent customer reviews
especially as have previously watched plenty which have a better story line
(in my opinion:).
Nice Audio Quality.
Gud Acting to All...
Tobe Hooper's Direction Was Superb.
Starting Slightly Slow...Read more