Toolbox Murders (2004)

Directed by: Tobe Hooper

Written by: Jace Anderson & Adam Gierasch


Angela Bettis .... Nell Barrows
Brent Roam .... Steven Barrows
Marco Rodriguez .... Luis Saucedo
Rance Howard .... Chas Rooker
Juliet Landau .... Julia Cunningham
Adam Gierasch .... Ned Lundy
Greg Travis .... Byron McLieb
Christopher Doyle .... Coffin Baby
Adam Weisman .... Austin Sterling
Christina Venuti .... Jennifer

Special Appearance:

Sherri Moon Zombie .... Daisy Rain

Release Dates: Hamburg Nacht der 1000 Schreie: March 19, 2004 (Germany); Berlin Nacht der 1000 Schreie: March 20, 2004 (Germany) ; München Nacht der 1000 Schreie: March 26, 2004 (Germany); Philadelphia International Film Festival: April 10, 2004; Dead by Dawn Edinburgh Horror Film Festival: April 25, 2004; Night Visions Film Festival: June 4, 2004 (Finland); Puchon Fantastic Film Festival: July 19, 2004 (Korea); Limited Theatrical: November 11, 2004 (Thailand); Limited Theatrical: November 12, 2004 (UK)

*Images courtesy at:








A new married couple named Nell (Angela Bettis) and Steven (Brent Roam) enters a new apartment building but the walls are extremely thin and hearable as they hear constant quarrels and screams. Nell thinks something bad is happening and calls the police but they're always false alarms.
Suddenly people are being slayed one by one by a killer in a ski mask with a toolbox using it for weapons to kill people with a nail gun and other devices.
Nell became friends with one of her neighbors named Julia Cunningham (Juliet Landau) but she ends up missing as she never answers her door so Nell gets very suspicious.
She gets a message to check Julia in a room that's not listed in the building but she finds some secret codes that can lead her there but she runs into a deadly passageway where the killer resides.


The film seems to have a fairly impressive start here in which we spot a resident buying something at a stand before going back home to her partment suite and when she does things are so dark and quiet in which this has a perfect feel of creepiness as to who could be in the suite with her in which we spot a toolbox lying out near a hallway beforehand which was a nice touch here. Also a good shot on a door being unlocked in which was a nice touch that someone is definetely watching her and ready to attack.
Then there's some good moments with the new tenants Nell and Steven Barows getting irritated by the noise that goes on in the other suites and hearing them through the walls as well as dealing with a dipstick landlord to top it all off along with sketchy neighbors in which this draws in well for many mysterious moments as to who the killer could be here.
Plus it is nicely mysterious when Nell hears in the walls on a couple quarrelling in which what is said seems dysfunctional nearly leaving this moment a bit chilling.
There's also a silent moment when Nell is about to go into a laundry room and all is still and quiet but a nice jumping moment with an autistic mechanic named Ned Lundy coming around the corner and bumping into her also on how he talks to her definetely leaves a nice impression that he is a suspect but yet we all know that this would be too obvious here.
Things seem uplifting when Nell meets the oldest resident Chas Rooker in the laundry room which was perfectly written in since we all know these types while living in an apartment and this seemed realistic in what was going on here.
A nice impressive moment with a resident playing her guitar and in the background we spot the killer as well as a nice suspenseful moment using his nail gun to shoot her clothes pinning her to a wall in which it keeps the suspense wondering when this maniac will shoot her in the flesh since he misses a few times. This certainly looked a bit intense to watch.
We spot a moment that is supposed to make you laugh with the police busting in after Nell reports the noise on some threats in which it's two actors practising for a callback but this seemed too corny and stale to find this funny at all.
There's also another perfect jumping moment when the killer grabs a resident with some curtains hiding behind it and making her suffocate. We've seen this slashing moment before but it still works well no matter what film it is used in.
More jumping moments when Nell is in a hallways and suddenly a tough neighbor walks past her out of the blue which we don't expect this to happen at all and it seems even more creepy when she tries to talk to him about his girlfriend and it looks like he will cause her trouble for even talking to him. A nice one here to spot and well done.
Also a good stressful situation is when Nell is worried about her friend and tries to talk to a neighbor and he's closed minded about it all which makes you feel frusterated having one of those idiotic people when an urgent matter is at hand.
Things seem interesting when she discovers a new passagaway in the suite with creepy surroundings which you don't spot everyday in an apartment at all as well as spotting a good gruesome killing with an electric saw cutting through someone as this looked totally intense here. Plus things looked more gruesome spotting corpses around the area too in a grizzly form of twisted art with good shots on this. There's even a moment when we spot a corridors of staircases and the killer climbing up from one corridor to another since he is clever as how to try and find his next victim watching him.
The adventure packs a punch big time when Nell and Brent try to struggle away from this killer as the story totally teases you that they put him out of his misery once and for all but he surprises Nell later on and plans to try and do her away.
Bottom line is that this remake of the 1978 cult classic flick is an improvement but not that much I am afraid to say as although there's some good scares like mentioned the story doesn't really go anywhere. Yet the story is totally different compared to the original and the killer is something different too. The story really falls flat nevertheless as you think it might get better. It almost reminds me of other slasher flicks like Black Christmas and My Bloody Valentine.
It is interesting to find a killer going around to slaughter people living in an apartment suite as it's never really been done before.

The acting is well done I must admit as we have alot of names in the film. Angela Bettis (Nell Barrows) really proved herself to be a versatile actress proving she can portray a more level headed type of character than in her roles in the films Carrie and May in which she portrayed a misfit in both of them. I found her to be the best one in this film. She also shows some nice sterness whenever she had to do this along with a perfect intensity later on bringing everything to a total hype as well as doing well with her griping type of behavior about the noises going on in the apartment building in which she shows some nice energy here with her stern speaking. She also shows good concerned expressions and frightened behavior whenever she hears the strange noises going on. Does well almost panicking when she knocks on someone's door fearing that something is wrong. She reacts well by being in pain after she falls to a secret passageway. She also cries out well being terrified after witnessing dead bodies and acts outrageously frightened afterwards and does well by freaking out after she is tied and nearly killed by a saw. Two thumbs up for this lady.
Brent Roam
(Steven Barrows) brings off a nice charm as the ideal husband showing a good natured type of behavior as well as showing off great energy when the terror occurs which he really rolls in with the punches while these meoments start to unravel around him. I must say that he knew what he was doing within his performance here.
Rance Howard
(Chas Rooker) is lovely as a friendly old man in the film making you want to be his neighbor. He comes off perfectly with his light headed type of personality as well as showing a healthy type of attitude too. He speaks very light heartedly which seems very believeable and coming off nicely here. He is great when he suffers in pain by talking to his fellow actor walking limbly towards her. Definetly a worthy character actor that he portrays in this role and can be fondly remembered to people who have seen this flick.
Juliet Landau
(Julia Cunningham) stands out well in her role with her energetic charisma. She totally makes her role very believeable as to someone who is full of energy and life in which she comes across as a totally likeable person who likes to exercise in which she seems like a healthy and happy go lucky type. I found her to be one of my favourites in the film.
Adam Gierasch
(Ned Lundy) comes across very creepy like as a carpenter at the suite making you wonder if he's a suspect to the murders. He has a nice hissing type of speaking which works well for his benefit here along with a nice creepy look and appeal to him too making you wonder if he's autistic. He studied this role quite fine.
Greg Travis
(Byron McLieb) brought out the most character to his role as the landlord of the film as he has alot of comedic timing to his part. He certainly shows a bubbly behavior as well as knowing on how to act like someone who is a little flakey and unorganised with stuff. He also shows a good excited type of behavior when the shocking moments start to happen around him. Plus does well acting goofily scared by what is going on. He was quite a ham for sure.
Supporting actor Christopher Doyle (Coffin Baby) played a great bad ass punk in the film as you wouldn't want him in your everyday life. He shows a nice coldness to his speaking as well as having a perfect mean looks to what he does in it. Plus he is believeable whenever he acts intimidating with his expressionless attitude as there's times he does a good job by acting intense especially when he zooms by in a hallway when you least expect it really making himself intimidating during this moment.
Sherry Moon Zombie
(Daisy Rain) is only seen in the beginning of the film but performs well playing a decent character for once instead of an insane brat like in House of 1000 Corpses or Devil's Rejects.
She seems to do well with her speaking and having a nice uplifting attitude in her role along with going great adrenaline in the suspenseful scene's that was used in the film with a good screaming reaction when she is attacked.

We have a half slit throat
A woman shot with nails
Bloody stabbings
Torn up bodies in a room
A head half cut off by an electric saw

The music has great metal pipe clanging as well as great metal screeching sounds. Of course we have the suspenseful themes along with great banging and drum beats all done by Joseph Conlan in which he makes each moment sound really effective with what he has here.

Luis Saucedo: Hey good evening Daisy.
Daisy Rain: Hey Louis, what happened ?
Luis Saucedo: They were working on the electrical system today. Junction box shorted out while someone was working. Blew him right through a third floor window.
Daisy Rain: Oh my god! That's awful.

Nell Barrows: Hi there are any of these washers free ?
Chas Rooker: Yup, come on in. Don't mind me, just foldin' ma skivees.