The Toolbox Murders

Texas Chainsaw creator directs poor horror remake

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Tobe Hooper doesn’t just do gore. He can also knock up a mean supernatural yarn, as his 1979 TV adaptation of Salem’s Lot demonstrated. Unfortunately, with this remake of an obscure 1978 slasher flick, he tries to do both at once and ends up falling between two, er, tools.

Angela Bettis plays a newlywed who moves into a crumbling LA tenement with paper-thin walls, a history of disappearances and a cast of creepy neighbours. When her new friend from across the hall goes missing, Bettis delves into the buidling’s secrets and discovers secret passages, symbols carved into lintels and a mysterious figure who seems to come and go. The trouble is, we’ve already seen him. It’s the nutter with the toolbox. You can’t build suspense when you’ve revealed your monster at the start. There are flashes of Hooper’s trademark hyperviolence, but nothing to engage your attention, and as a whole it feels far more creaky than creepy.

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