It is no secret that most of the horror flicks hitting the big screen are remakes. Most of the time these films lack in quality, and it is highly unusual for one of these rehashes to be a quality product that is actually better than its predecessor. What is even more rare is when a director, past his prime, is able to come back full steam with a stylish and masterful piece of work (We are all waiting Dario!!). In 2004, Tobe Hooper accomplished the seemingly impossible by producing a remake that not only exceeded the quality of the original but was able to create a piece of work that harkened back to his glory days. Tonight’s September Slasher is the film The Toolbox Murders.
Day 21: Renovations a Major Improvement…The Toolbox Murders
Nell, an out of work teacher, and her husband recently moved to LA so he could finish his doctor residency. The place her husband finds is a beautiful apartment building that has one problem: It is falling apart. Some major renovations are taking place at the apartment complex. Nell and other residents hear hammering at all hours of the night as creepy things begin to happen. Tenants begin to come up missing and meet their end at the hands of a killer welding various construction tools. Once Nell’s friend comes up missing, she is determined to find out the mystery of this old apartment complex, and what all the strange symbols that decorate the building mean.
Plain and simple, I hated the original Toolbox Murders. I thought it was mean spirited and in a bad taste, but above all, it was boring as hell. What the writers and Tobe Hooper did with this film, was take some of the basic concepts of the original film(i.e killer in an apartment complex and cool title) and make a fantastic slasher that also dabbles in the supernatural. The gore in this film is some of the best of the 2000’s. There were several scares that made me jump, and the atmosphere was thick with suspense. Although there were many creative kills, what truly made this film was the visual style on display by Hooper. Just as the carnival was the star in Funhouse, Tobe makes the apartment complex the star of this film. This film did work better than Funhouse because the kills were more evenly paced. A notable mention is that the acting was overall impressive. Angela Bettis was perfect as Nell.
If you haven’t seen this film, pick up a copy today. It’s too bad that Mr. Hooper hasn’t really done much since this film, except present us with a weak installment in the Masters of Horror television show. This film shows he still has the chops. Now somebody just needs to give him some money and a great script. Tomorrow, we will rewind back to the 90’s and take a look at the slasher I Know What You Did Last Summer.