Nell and her husband Steven have just moved into an apartment complex. This apartment is old and rundown. Noises flow through the walls, hammering goes on all night, and a killer with a toolbox and wearing a black ski mask roams the apartment, searching through the tenants for victims.
We start off fairly quickly with a woman, Shari Moon, entering her apartment. Inside, the masked killer awaits with a hammer. Next we are introduced to all the characters in the film, however most of them are paper thin with the only one being developed is Nell, played by Angela Bettis. As Nell hears things, she calls the police at every scream, however this is an apartment complex for actors so the police discover that it is just a false alarm. Soon, the police no longer respond to Nell’s calls and when she discovers that there really is a killer on the loose in the apartment complex, she takes it upon herself to stop this killer before it’s too late.
Tobe Hooper has returned to horror with The Toolbox Murders, a remake in name only. The only similarities with this film and the original is the ski masked killer, although they are completely different, they just both wear the same kind of mask, the apartment, and the title of the movie. This film has paper thin characters and the dialogue is often quite bad, however Hooper has added in some creative death scenes and a final thirty minutes that will keep you watching.
I thought most of the acting was just okay. When I first saw Angela Bettis on the screen, I couldn’t help but think of May, however after watching a few minutes of this film, I forgot all about her as May and saw her as Nell. Most of the other actors were just there to be killed off, which is often done in many slasher flicks. This film wasn’t overly gory, but it does have some very creative death scenes, including one that involves a nail gun. The ending had me completely surprised, and the final thirty minutes took me for a ride that not a lot of horror films have done this year. This film starts out and continues to build up, leading into the thirty minute climax.
One thing I couldn’t help but think of while watching this was the film, Phantom of the Opera. It seemed as if Hooper was more influenced by that film than the original Toolbox Murders, which was probably a good idea. The original film hasn’t been very well accepted by horror fans, but I am sure this one will. We’ve had so much go to theaters this year that was horrible, this one would be something worth checking out. If you’re in the mood for an 80’s feel slasher flick, I recommend you check out The Toolbox Murders. I give it a 7 out of 10.