Toolbox Murders Review
Directed by Tobe Hooper
Starring Angela Bettis, Brent Roam, Juliet Landau, Greg Travis, Marco Rodriguez, Sara Downing, Adam Gieraschi, Sheri Moon, and Adam Weisman
“Every year thousands of people come to Hollywood to pursue their dreams. Some succeed. Some move back home… And some just disappear.” These are the words that begin the 2003 remake of Toolbox Murders. Let me say this and get this completely out there, I do not have a generalized opinion on remakes – some I love and some I loathe. With that being said, I enjoyed Toolbox Murders, but that may have to do with the simple fact that I have yet to see the original.
Nell and Steven Barrows are new to the Lusman building, moving in during a night of excitement with an accident occurring because of the reconstruction. What they don’t realize is that this building has a rich history, a history dealing with murder and the occult. Something evil lives deep in the building itself, something linked to the architecture.
From the film title, I had some preconceived notions about Toolbox Murders. I was pleasantly surprised by the story and mythology behind the Lusman building and the truth about what lies deep within the walls of the apartment complex. And the question: What lives inside these walls? It kept me interested until the credits rolled. The identity of the murderer behind the toolbox murders is unknown to me, the only fact known is that he was born from death (creepy and intriguing).
However, Nell was equally loved and loathed. Being the main protagonist, Nell feels that everything about the Lusman building is wrong from the moment she and her husband Steven move into their apartment. Her paranoia knows no bounds and unlike her fellow neighbors she shows genuine concern for the other people living in the Lusman building. But I could not get over her snide attitude and annoying habits, especially the rapid fire knocking on Julia’s door. She is not answering! She was drilled in the back of the head, she won’t be answering even for that hot dish she had in the elevator some night before.
I will admit, by the end of the film I certainly did not wish our protagonist’s death. Nell was just a school teacher without a job, with a thirst for knowledge, and with nothing better to do than to investigate the strange happenings of the Lusman building. Without her, there would be no story to Toolbox Murders, I applaud her for contributing to the story.
Toolbox Murders used household tools in ways I hadn’t thought of before and some that I had, either seen in other films or thought in passing fancy. The film was not overly gory, but it did have some amazing killing scenes. Poor socially inept Ned, handyman extraordinaire, had the best death scene with a saw to the temple straight through the skull. And I shudder to think if Nell had actually died in the manner that the murderer initially intended, gives me shivers just thinking about it (if you have seen Toolbox Murders, you know what I am talking about).
Toolbox Murders is another wonderful addition to the horror collection at home. Unfortunately, I have yet to see the original but it is certainly on the list of horror films to view in the future. Bringing the toolbox to the forefront of people’s mind, household tools will never be the same. With its rich history and its storyline, Toolbox Murders was enjoyable and is a great slasher film to add to the collection.