Toolbox Murders 2 (Blu-ray Review)

Toolbox-Murders 2The handyman of horror is back with a new box of tricks and fear in TOOLBOX MURDERS 2, a highly anticipated follow-up to the 2004 Tobe Hooper-directed slasher classic.  Directed by legendary special effects artist, producer and filmmaker Dean C. Jones (Dark Awakening, X-Men: First Class), TOOLBOX MURDERS 2 stars Chauntal Lewis (Séance), Oscar® nominee Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Brian Krause (Stephen King’sSleepwalkers), Clifton Powell (Ray), Chris Doyle (Toolbox Murders) and Ethan Phillips (Star Trek: Voyager). Picking up directly after the shocking events of the previous movie, TOOLBOX MURDERS 2 ratchets up the terror as it follows one of Hollywood’s most twisted killers. Resurfacing in the darkest corners of the L.A. underworld with a serious axe to grind, the killer hammers out a plan to put the screws to a new victim!

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Hollywood, California is turned upside down by a series of strange and horrific murders creating chaos and turmoil in tinsel town. One particular victim is kidnapped, held captive and subjected to witness the torture and murder of numerous other victims. It is by her will, strength, and faith that she must survive the ordeal. Her escape seems hopeless and only worsens when outside supernatural forces become more difficult to contend with than her captor…

I’ll start with the one kind thing I have to say about this movie.  The make up effects and gore effects are pretty terrific.  And the film is not at all afraid to flaunt them around.  You see all sorts of gross and groovy stuff happening to the human body.  The effects guys sure earned their money on this one.

However, that’s all this movie is.  There’s a woman trapped in a cage and this monster guy keeps coming in with a body (Usually a friend of hers) and he chops it up in front of her.  There are some useless flashbacks cut in here and there to sort of add depth to what’s going on, but that really is basically what this movie is.  You’re bored within 10 to 15 minutes of this over and over.  There is nothing to go on here.

I’ll admit, I’ve never seen the original Toolbox Murders film or the Tobe Hooper remake that this film is supposed to follow.  Hooper’s film was almost 11 years ago, and I think this film was from 2012, so that is 8 years between them.  In the meantime, I’m not sure anyone was clamoring for a sequel.  And when it came to a sequel there wasn’t much of an idea for one.  While not having seen the first one, I’d imagine it does a bit more than hang out in a single cellar the whole time.

Bruce Dern shows up in this thing crazy enough.  This was done before Nebraska, but I’m willing to be he took this on to remodel his kitchen.  Its the most obvious case of overpaying a veteran character actor to class up your film and give him one day’s work so you can put their name above the title or on the box to sell it.  Dern shows up in really one scene, and that’s it.  I felt bad for him, but I’m sure he knew what he was taking on and that pool he built in his backyard is probably hitting the spot around this time of year.

I’m a person who tries to find the best in the worst of things or enjoy things for being pretty gloriously bad, but there’s no enjoyment here.  Its a slug of a film that reeks of not being able to overcome having a really small budget.  All of their money obviously went to effects and Bruce Dern.  What’s left after that is really nothing at all.  This is easily one of the very worst movies Scream Factory has put out and one of the very very very very few I’ve found nothing to enjoy.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1o80p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  Toolbox Murders 2 features a nice crisp and mostly sharp modern digital image.  Detail is very high, giving you a grand look at the flesh being ripped and roasted throughout the film.  Clothing and surface detail is also plenty clear an discernible.

Depth:  Depth is above average.  Background imagery is clear and movments are very smooth and loose.

Black Levels:   Blacks are inky.  Some crushing appears minimally in the feature.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are bold and poppy.  Yes, you guessed it, reds look luscious and gory.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones looks natural and consistent.  Facial detail on pores, cuts, wrinkles and the like is clear as day.

Noise/Artifacts:  Clean

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  This is a well rounded 5.1 track.  It really gives you a feel for the drippy, dank cellar that most of this film takes place in.  The mix relishes in the disgusting distinct sounds of flesh being mutilated and bone cracking.

Low Frequency Extension: Some jump scares get a boost and well as some clanging and crashing noises.

Surround Sound Presentation:  The ambiance on this one is quite good.  You really get a full sensory feel for this lowly place.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Crisp, clear and at an admirable volume.

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Toolbox Murders 2 features an additional photo/promotional image on the reverse side of the cover.

Trailer (HD, 1:42)

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There’s no way around it, this is a terrible movie.  Technical merits being high for this one bump its rating up to a 2.  The picture and audio are both great.  Thankfully, there are no extras aside from a trailer to try and sell us on this thing.  You might want to catch this on TV, free stream or rental avenue if you’re very curious.  Having good effects is one thing, but having rock bottom to support it is another.  This is definitely one of Scream Factory’s worst releases in their rather glowing and impressive catalog.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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