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Toolbox Murders (2003)
Movie Review by The Mortician

Toolbox Murders (2003) Ah, the 'remake' trend continues. Why the 'niche classic' 70's grindhouse sleaze epic would need to be remade or 're-thought' is beyond me, but here we have director Tobe Hooper attempting to make a 'comeback kid' movie. Admittedly, the director of the original TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE remaking TOOLBOX MURDERS is sure to pique the interest of die-hard fans. For me, the original TOOLBOX is pretty decent for the first 30 minutes when all the kills are happening (including the infamous bathtub nailgun scene), then the movie slips into soap-operatic boredom as characters try to solve the mystery of 'who did it.' Hooper's movie is way different than the original. While it pays tribute to it with a kill scene by hammer and nailgun with a killer wearing a ski mask, there's not much the two movies have in common with each other after that.A married couple move into an ancient apartment complex that has as much death and history to it as King's Overlook hotel (and some of the dialogue seems to be ripped from the pages of his novel late in the movie). The husband is a doctor in training, always at work, and the wife is at home alone, hearing strange sounds, watching tenants disappear, and generally getting an eerie feeling all around. She finally digs into the building's past and finds a whole 'secret room' area...The first hour of the movie is pretty routine. Not bad, some entertainment value, but nothing spectacular, either. The cast is capable, the building does have a certain 'death charm' to it...But the last half hour definitely wakes you up. Chases in secret rooms with a hideous Cenobite/Leatherface type of killer, bodies hanging from meathooks, lots of gore (including someone's head being sawed in half right beloew the nose!), and pulse-pounding editing. Hooper is definitely in fine form with these scenes and it's good to see him returning to his roots. The set design looks real close to things we've seen in TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2, actually...Is it as good as CHAINSAW 2? No, but these days, with horror films being so watered down and the same, it's still a minor treat for slasher fans. So all in all, I'd say most fans will not be disappointed with THE TOOLBOX MURDERS remake. It ranks among Hooper's better outings in the biz---which would be:1.) Texas Chainsaw 12.) Texas Chainsaw 23.) Eaten Alive4.) Poltergeist5.) Toolbox MurdersSo there ya go, it's in his top five productions from this fan's pespective! Carry on, and clip that hammer to your belt!
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