Toolbox Murders

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Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Angela Bettis, Juliet Landau, Brent Roam, Chris Doyle, Rance Howard, Carlease Burke

Director: Tobe Hooper

One of horror’s great directors has to be Tobe Hooper. From giving kids sleepless nights with the original SALEM’S LOT mini series to the fantastic POLTERGEIST and the bloody TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, Hooper is long overdue some credit for creating chilling images. Will THE TOOLBOX MURDERS, a remake from a forgotten 1970’s movie, finally break him into the 21 st century or will this be another popcorn no-brainer horror movie?

Moving to a new home can be stressful. Moving into a renovated old apartment building might sound romantic but when two deaths, one on screen and one off screen, occur within the first seven minutes of the movie, you know this is more than just another one of those dull property programmes. Of course this is no ordinary apartment building. The walls are thin, the lift creaks, the shower does not work and the handyman man looks like a serial killer.

When a new couple move in to the Lusman Arms Building, Nell (Angela Bettis) and Steven Barrows (Brent Roam), the residents seem to be a bit on the strange side. Julia Cunningham (Juliet Landau) is being spied on by her nosy teenage neighbour and Saffron Kirby (Sara Downing) likes to sing protest songs. Other residents include neighbours arguing followed by rough sex and actors rehearsing a script.

Nell strikes up a friendship with Julia and they become jogging buddies. One day, Julia does not turn up and Nell becomes extremely worried that no one has seen her. Determined to find Julia, Nell is armed with a blueprint of the building and sets out to find out what the mysterious symbols on the wall mean and why there is a room missing on each floor?

Tobe Hopper manages to keep the pace going, which picks up speed as we approach the movie’s climax. Even though the script is at times predictable, due no thanks to the killer seemingly going after the female residents, this will have you guessing who the murderer might be and my personal favourite, who will become the next victim. While there is little new here that will amaze viewers, what we do get is a range of entertaining performances from all involved. Hooper thankfully does not need to use flashy editing to build tension, instead allowing the viewer to enjoy the spectacle of each gruesome murder. This might not be a classic but it is more enjoyable than most of the recent horror movies to come out from Hollywood.

4 out of 6 stars