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Toolbox Murders

79 customer reviews

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(Mar 15, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Every year thousands of people move to Hollywood to pursue their dreams. Some succeed. Some go home. Others just… disappear. There are bad apartments – rats, bad plumbing, crazy landlords - and then there’s the Lusman building. Something evil lives deep in the building itself, something linked to the architecture itself… something that needs to keep killing to stay alive.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Angela Bettis, Brent Roam, Marco Rodríguez, Rance Howard, Juliet Landau
  • Directors: Tobe Hooper
  • Writers: Adam Gierasch, Jace Anderson
  • Producers: Adam Gierasch, Frank Strausser, Gary LaPoten, Jacqueline Quella, Mark Wooding
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: March 15, 2005
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00079HZY8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,725 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Toolbox Murders" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Phantasmagoria on March 1, 2005
Format: DVD
The Ambassador Hotel an L.A. landmark takes center stage in Tobe Hooper's re-envisioning of the THE TOOLBOX MURDERS. Sharing the leading role with the Hotel is scream queen in the making Angela Bettis. Here she is cast as a more down to earth character than her two star making roles in CARRIE, and MAY and it is nice to see she is capable of great range. The rest of the ensemble cast fares well also, most notably Rance Howard (Ron and Clint's father). The first half of the film is mostly buildup with a couple of effective jolt type scares, while the later half lets the blood spill and harkens back to directors more classic work in being just genuinely frightening. Some great ideas are evident in the writing and while the finale could be a bit more "fleshed out" the pieces are there for you to put together (unlike the hit you over the head forced twist ending of say SAW). I was quite pleased as the credits rolled on this stripped down piece of throwback horror, something that can't be said of most of the recent genre attempts (excluding SHAUN OF THE DEAD and Bubba Ho Tep) No its no TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, but what is? Worth a peek if you are intrigued by a real horror flick, worth buying for fans of Tobe's and Angela.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 30, 2005
Format: DVD
One of the respected horror directors Tobe Hooper comes back with the star Angela Bettis ('May' and TV's 'Carrie'). This 'Toolbox Murders' is a remake of the 1978 film of the same title, in which a killer uses various items in ... er ... the toolbox. Though the gimmick itself is unchanged, the new version gives more stress upon the spooky atmosphere coming from the well-chosen locations. And Ms. Bettis (I really like her) is a real talent, which is a bonus to the film.

The film is about the married couple newly moving in a decaying apartment building in LA. The place is surely spooky, and looks either infested with evil spirits, or just tenanted by a bunch of strange, slightly crazy inmates. As you know, so many people come to Hollywood with dreams, and if you are acting like a little bit starnge, no one cares. Even if you suddenly vanish.

But Angela Bettis's heroine plucky Nell notices something different, What is the dirty package hidden behind the wall of her room? What do the marks signify engraved on the floor of the building? The film slowly builds up the story.

[GREAT LOCATION] Tobe Hooper chose The Ambassador Hotel, now closed, where Robert Kennedy was assassinated. I don't know how many films in the past used this building as location, but in this Hooper's new film the place becomes the spookiest. In usual places, an officious manager or a creepy repairman is a big no-no cliche; in here, they look so real that you might feel that Hooper is talking about an old-fashioned ghost story, not a serial killer horror. (But actually, it is a serial killer story.)

However, Hooper's 'Toolbox Murders' is not perfect.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on May 13, 2007
Format: DVD
Tobe Hooper, the creator of the legendary "Texas Chain Saw Massacre," returns to the horror scene with a remake of the 1970s sleaze classic "Toolbox Murders". No. I have seen the original "Toolbox Murders," and I can safely tell you that this remake has absolutely nothing to do with the original film. The two movies aren't even close in subject matter. The shiny new "Toolbox Murders" is not even a "reimagining," one of those tricky Hollywood terms we horror fans hear quite a bit these days. Reimagining implies that crucial elements from the first outing will appear in the remake. Sure, both versions of the "Toolbox Murders" deal with a sleaze ball systematically working his way through a bevy of female flesh with instruments pulled out of his trusty Black & Decker tool chest. That's where the similarity between the two movies ends. It's the underlying plots that separate the two flicks by a distance that spans continents. So let's not delude ourselves into thinking Hooper's 2004 picture is a remake of the 1978 video nasty, o.k.? Now that we got that out of the way, I will say this film marks a return of sorts for Tobe Hooper. Read on to find out why.

"Toolbox Murders" introduces us to Nell and Steven Barrows (Angela Bettis and Brent Roam) as they quickly find themselves in an extremely unpleasant situation. Steve went ahead and rented an apartment in the distinguished Lusman Arms apartment complex, located in good old Hollywood, California, without giving Nell much of a say in the matter. So what's wrong with that? One, only a newly married guy would make such a decision without consulting his wife. Two, the Lusman Arms looks more like a Howard Johnson's in Baghdad than an apartment building. The structure is literally falling apart.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Perrotta on October 13, 2005
Format: DVD
Recently I've been trying to figure out for myself exactly what I enjoy about horror movies and how it is that I come to love some, laugh at some, and yawn at most. After seeing Toolbox Murders the remake, I'm starting to understand what it is exactly that makes a horror film work for me and what makes some of them laughably bad. I watched this movie with no notion of what it was about and found myself riveted. As you watch, you really don't have a sense of who the killer is at all, you figure the maintenance guy is the obvious red herring so you rule him out, and the film doesn't give you any real idea of what you're dealing with. The murder scenes are creative and you start to wonder why more filmmakers haven't used nailguns, drills or table saws as their weapons of choice as they are seemingly logical items to use in serial killing. LOL. But when the story line seems to be taking you down a path of the usual slasher psychopath, it suddenly turns and becomes the supernatural, leaving you with lots of questions and wondering who and what the killer is exactly. You never do get the answer to these questions and that, for me, is what I love about certain horror films. I LIKE unanswered questions in horror, especially when there IS no explanation for things; that is what makes some horror really disturbing and others just plain cliche and stupid. This is a fine line however, as some films throw a bunch of garbage in the movie that makes no sense and expect the audience to come up with a solution that isn't there but this can be done cleverly so it works, as it does in Toolbox Murders. For me, I like when everyday things are turned into mazes of confusion and I enjoy being led down one path only to discover I have ended up somewhere else. It is the genius horror filmmakers that can do this and it is clear why Tobe Hooper is one of the Great Masters in horror.
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