Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Toolbox Murders (2004)
My plan yesterday was to watch and review Toolbox Murders, but I ended up with Mortuary - also directed by Tobe Hooper. Today I searched the apartment again and found it! It was right in front of my eyes all the time, of course. I watched this first when it came and then forgot about it, bought the DVD some years ago and forgot about it again and now I understand why. This is by far one of Hooper's weakest moments, but it's still better than a lot of other generic, crappy DTV horror films. I'm not gonna make any comparison to the original 1978 movie, mostly because they're totally different films and I just don't believe in comparing everything new to stuff produced during the over-hyped the golden years of cinema.
The original is actually damn boring and completely lacks talent (except the always awesome Cameron Mitchell of course!). But 'nuff about that!
Toolbox Murders suffers from the same problem as Mortuary: great ideas, a fun concept - but none of the ideas is fully developed and we're left with a boring slasher-esque thriller who hardly even tries to be scary. I know Hooper can do better and I'm afraid I think this was just another paycheck for him. It glimmers here and there, but the characters and the dialogue is the best - the horror is just something we've seen before a thousand times.
Hooper tries to provoke and produce disturbing images, but to receive R rather than the dreaded NC-17 the filmmakers was forced to cut the kills down and left is a (almost) bloodless mess. I'm pretty sure the horror would have been better with more gore, more violence. If this had been produced today it would probably never have suffered the same form of tasteless mutilation, but what can we do about it today? Nothing it seems.
I've heard the uncut kills is included as a bonus on the R1 DVD, but hey... there's no point in watching them outside the movie. I want them in the movie, where they belong.
On the good side, the cast is excellent. From the always enjoyable Angela Bettis in the lead to reliable character actors like Rance Howard, Juliet Landau and Greg Travis supporting the thrills it's a nice way to spend an evening. It's the same style of quirky, slightly disturbed Tobe Hopper-characters we're used to see - and that's a good thing, because it's part of his style. I need to see people like that in his movies, it's the last thing he has left from a far more successful career.
The idea used in the film is good, but it's surprising they never used it to something more. The occult and the old
always creates magic. Mysterious apartments, old actors remembering the past,
long corridors, hidden symbols and weird noises. It's good stuff, it's great
stuff. But everything is thrown away just to making something more simpler,
something more... cowardly. Hollywood