aka: Hotel Terror
Director: Tobe Hooper
Starring: Angela Bettis, Brent Roam, Marco Rodriguez, Rance Howard, Juliet Landau
Another legacy begins
Nell and her boyfriend Steven are the newest tenants at the old building called Lusman Arms. While they try their best to renovate the old apartment, Nell starts to hear strange voices around the building, and also starts to notice that some of the neighbors are becoming missing.
Nell starts to become obsessed with finding out what is going on in this building and the history of it does not make her less concerned. The place has a long line of missing tenants and the man who built the building was heavily into the occult. While trying to find answers, Nell herself becomes a target and might end up being the next one missing…
Toolbox Murders is a remake of a late 70’s slasher film that some might find a bit underrated. Why they decided to remake the film is beyond me since the original film doesn’t have that big of a following and there is hardly any need to use the name of that one to make a new film about a crazy killer in a building.
Apparently the creators of this one didn’t feel the need to remake the original either since this one goes in a way different territory, even introducing supernatural and occult sides to their story. My guess is that there was a script available already that they just decided to slap the Toolbox Murders name onto and then greenlight.
Regardless of that, there is always room for new slashers in my book, but sadly this one is just not a satisfying experience at all. It plays out like a mystery where we as viewers are invited to join Nell’s relentless search for the truth of what’s been going on in this building, but none of that holds any interest for me. Nell, played by the excellent actress Angela Bettis, is just too dull to care about and simply just a poorly written character. I usually love watching Bettis in action, but this is definitely her worst performance I’ve seen so far, and I’m not gonna give her all of the blame for that since the script is poor to begin with.
Tobe Hooper is the director behind this film and he is of course known to the horror community for his 70’s and 80’s films and the fact that his later efforts have been quite poor. While there is some interesting choices done with this film and it starts out a bit playful even, he doesn’t show much of the talent that was displayed with his earlier work such as of course Texas Chainsaw Massacre. He does create a bizarre atmosphere in the beginning and that’s one of the best aspects of the film. The murders are decent, a bit bloody, but nothing we haven’t seen before. It should have been sleazed up a bit more and the supernatural aspect of the killer should have been abandoned before the filming started.
Toolbox Murders anno 2004 is a remake in name only and there’s not much for fans of the original to enjoy in this film. There’s also not much to enjoy for horror fans in general as it is a pretty poor movie, even with genre talents such as Hooper behind the camera and Bettis in front of it. Without the name and their names, this film would probably not have been remembered today… if you can even say it is remembered. Skip it.