Toolbox Murders (Widescreen) product details page

Toolbox Murders (Widescreen)

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Infusing elements of his career-defining masterpiece, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, with the basic concept of the sleazy 1978 roughie from which this film shares its namesake (and very little more), director Tobe Hooper's The Toolbox Murders cautiously probes into "Three Mothers" territory (see Dario Argento's Suspiria and Inferno) as the 2004 update takes a wild departure from the original into potentially supernatural territory in a genuinely surprising final act. Though Hooper's Toolbox Murders may not be the "comeback" vehicle that salivating horror fans had been yearning for after the director weathered something of a dry spell in the 1990s, it does deliver by injecting some novel ideas into the tried-and-true slasher formula, while also keeping things tense with a series of solid shocks that really start to roll with the reveal of a macabre surprise "twist" that will no doubt have fans of the original scratching their heads. Assuming those fans can overcome the liberties taken by the screenplay for this Toolbox Murders as opposed to the much more "believable" original, they may still find their suspense disrupted by a series of remarkably implausible character and story flaws. As a director, Hooper still has a sure hand for distracting the viewer while simultaneously setting up a satisfying shock, but when a character reacts to being chased around her apartment by a psychotic killer by choosing to close the front door and lock herself in the apartment with said killer instead of making a hasty escape, all real tension is effectively negated. Thankfully, this is precisely where the gore factor steps in to pick up any slack. The kills in The Toolbox Murders are both creative and brutal -- even when they are wildly unrealistic -- and even if Hooper's unique vision fails to maintain the stark realism of the original, its flawed logic can make for an interesting ride for viewers with the ability to check their brains at the door and accept a film that departs from the original to exist solely on its own terms. It's often said that filmmakers should remake mediocre old films instead of ones that got it right the first time around; this seems to be what Hooper was aiming for in crafting his own, decidedly different Toolbox Murders -- and to a degree he has succeeded. If certain elements of this Toolbox Murders seem to be simply recycling the more horrific elements of the director's aforementioned masterpiece, it can be somewhat forgiven in light of its noble attempt to elevate a typical stalk-and-slash storyline into something decidedly more menacing. Sure, it may not make the most sense in the world, but if you're willing to suspend your disbelief, The Toolbox Murders can be a pretty fun but inconsequential horror-flavored diversion. Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide