Toolbox Murders (2004) Horror Movie Review


“Toolbox Murders,” directed by Tobe Hooper, is a film that takes us back to the roots of the slasher genre, with a modern twist. Set in the decrepit Lusman Arms, an old Hollywood apartment building with a dark past, the movie follows Nell and her husband Steven as they uncover the building’s sinister secrets.

The film opens with the couple moving into the Lusman Arms, unaware of the horrors that await them. As they settle in, Nell, played by Angela Bettis, begins to hear strange noises and experiences eerie occurrences. The tension builds as residents start to disappear, and Nell finds herself drawn into a mystery that is as old as the building itself.

Hooper, known for his work on “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” brings a certain pedigree to the film. His direction creates an atmosphere of claustrophobic suspense that is palpable throughout. The setting of the Lusman Arms is a character in itself, with its labyrinthine corridors and hidden rooms that hint at the building’s gruesome history.

The performances are solid, with Bettis delivering a strong portrayal of a woman caught in an increasingly terrifying situation. Brent Roam, as Steven, provides a stable counterpoint to Nell’s growing paranoia. The supporting cast, including Juliet Landau and Greg Travis, add depth to the story, each character contributing to the unfolding drama.

The film’s pacing is deliberate, allowing the suspense to build gradually. The scares are well-timed, and the use of practical effects gives the violence a visceral quality that is often missing in contemporary horror. The “toolbox” of the title is not just a gimmick; it’s integral to the plot and the killer’s modus operandi, providing some inventive and shocking moments.

Critics have been divided on “Toolbox Murders,” with some praising its homage to classic horror and others finding fault with its execution. However, for fans of the genre, the film offers a satisfying blend of suspense, mystery, and gore. It may not reinvent the wheel, but it does remind us why we fell in love with horror in the first place.

In the Nutshell

“Toolbox Murders” is a film that will resonate with those who appreciate a good old-fashioned slasher flick. It’s a nod to the past while still feeling fresh, and Hooper’s direction ensures that the suspense never wanes. If you’re in the mood for a horror movie that pays tribute to the classics, then “Toolbox Murders” is worth a watch. Just be prepared to look at your toolbox in a whole new light. [4 out of 5].

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Genre: Slasher

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