Toolbox Murders (2004)

R   |    |  Horror, Mystery, Thriller


Toolbox Murders (2004) Poster

A historic Hollywood hotel houses a supernatural evil. It's been subdued for decades, but when renovations start, a series of murders take place.


5.3/10
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  • Toolbox Murders (2004)
  • Angela Bettis in Toolbox Murders (2004)
  • Toolbox Murders (2004)
  • Rance Howard in Toolbox Murders (2004)
  • Sheri Moon Zombie in Toolbox Murders (2004)

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16 June 2013 | RockPortReview
Good Remake with the great Angela Bettis!
In 1974 Tobe Hooper directed the original horror masterpiece "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and created and instant name for himself. But over the past few decades he really hasn't done anything to write home about. Except that in 2004 he directed Angela Bettis in a remake of the 1978 film "The Toolbox Murders".

This new version stars Bettis as Nell as she and her husband move into the Lusman Arms apartment complex in Los Angeles. The complex in under an extensive renovation and is a complete mess, but they have a doorman. The story feels like a lost film from Roman Polanski, drawing a lot from the themes of "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Tenant". The story also throws in a bit of old Hollywood noir, as the apartment building was the former residence of the infamous Black Dahlia victim Elizabeth Short. The building is a character in itself as a dark and foreboding presence. The movie was shot at the old Ambassador Hotel which has a pretty storied past in itself. The Lusman Arms is the place where young actors come with dreams of making it big. Although Nell is a school teacher and her husband Steve and med student.

From the first scene of the movie we know that there is a ski masked maniac in the building who is killing off the resident and things seem to point towards Ned the quiet and creepy young maintenance man who kind of looks like Jack White. Like the original film he kills his victims with various tools in his toolbox, so yeah the title is pretty self explanatory.

Nell immediately gets the creeps about the place, but its so affordable since they have to live in a construction zone. We get to know a lot of the residents from an old man who has lived there for 60 years, to the young couple that is always fighting, and the middle aged couple with a teenage son. After hearing a bunch of screaming from next door Nell calls the cops, but they find nothing. She is all alone with her mind allowed to wonder and with the paper thin walls she can't get a moment of silence. As the terror and suspense increases Nell starts to investigate the history of the Lusman Arms. Acting on a tip from the Old Man she find that each floor is missing a room and that something sinister lurks within the walls.

This is a fun little movie that is all about Angela Bettis and her character Nell as she fights for not only her life but for her sanity. The "Toolbox Murders" DVD is available online or from Netflix and includes a couple of commentary tracks and some deleted scenes. So I guess you should put the Hot Pocket down and go watch this movie.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the production companies financing the film dissolved during filming, forcing Tobe Hooper to shut down production with only 2/3 of the movie actually shot. Numerous continuity errors, plot holes, and narrative flaws are the result of Hooper hastily editing together what he had filmed into a complete movie in order to try and recoup financial losses and so that the actors' and crews' work wouldn't go to waste. In the commentary track for this film with Tobe Hooper and the writers, they state that this did not happen.


Quotes

Nell Barrows: Were you aiming for Dante's Third or Fourth Circle of Hell?
Steven Barrows: It was just bad timing.
Nell Barrows: Honey, "bad timing" is arriving late for dinner. This is fire-bombing the restaurant.


Goofs

When Nell is writing the note to Julia the sound of the pencil on the paper mismatches the action.


Crazy Credits

Every years thousands of people come to Hollywood to pursue their dreams. Some succeed. Some move back home... And some just disappear.


Alternate Versions

The US release was heavily censored to get an "R" rating rather than an "NC-17". The following scenes were edited:

  • The "drill kill" of the girl in the apartment was about 20-30 seconds longer, showing much more blood fly out of the back of her head, and the drill going all the way through her mouth. After the killer retracts the drill, he then begins drilling again into her head. Also, this scene is well-lit as opposed to the darkened version in the "R" rated cut.
  • The man getting his head sawed in half; this scene was much longer. More blood and grue flies out as the killer saws, and the aftermath of the top half of the man's head being ripped off was shown, and the camera lingers longer on it when it hits the ground.
  • The man being strapped to the table and killed was a bit longer. There were more hits with the hammer, more screams from the man, and a better view of the powder being poured on his head. A more grisly after-view of the man's lye-laden head was present afterward.


Soundtracks

California (Back To Hell)
by Shithead

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Horror | Mystery | Thriller

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