Picking up directly after the events of Hooper's shocking film, 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: Samantha, the sister of his prey from his previous rampage. Soon Samantha finds herself held captive in a house of horrors and forced to undergo the most unspeakable tortureswith little hope of escape.
In TOOLBOX MURDERS 2, after her sister is brutally murdered, Samantha is abducted by her masked killer. She awakens to find herself in the killer's dungeon of sorts. An abandoned building. It is here that she spends days, not only being tortured by the mysterious and deformed killer, but forced to become a spectator as well, as he brings in fresh kills daily, and in the end, hacking them to pieces, The sights and sounds do a number on Samantha, as her sense of reality becomes a little distorted, but nonetheless, she must, in the end, she must fight for her life, if she hopes to escape the "Toolbox Killer".
Oh boy, where do I begin? Well, I guess I will start here. As most of you know, in 2004, Director extraordinaire, Tobe Hooper directed a remake of the 1978 classic, THE TOOLBOX MURDERS. While the original was a great film, it wasn't broad when it came to its plot. However, the film was gritty, and dark, and the fact that the film's killer dispatched his victims via various tools from his toolbox, made it memorable, and made it stand out. Hooper's remake which starred Horror darling, Angela Bettis, maintained those aspects of the original, while simultaneously making the story its own. Instead of the killer just being of your common psychotic killer variety, Hooper's film(written by Adam Gierasch, and Jace Anderson). went a step further, giving the killer a back-story, and maybe a reason. Although it was pretty vague, I felt that the back-story was great. Near the end of that film, it is explained to us that the killer was what they called "coffin baby". What this means is that, as his mother lay dead in her coffin, her baby(who would of course, grow up to be the killer) fought out of the womb. And it is because of this, that the killer has no real sense of life or death. Killing is just something he does, and that's that. It's the stuff of pure Horror fantasy, and as I said, it wasn't elaborate much, but still, it worked. With that, if there was to be a sequel, and someone just HAD to make one, there was still enough left up in the air to follow up, on, such as the killer's use of mysterious symbols, and the fact that, in true Horror fashion, the killer vanished at the end.
While, to our surprise(or not really), there is a sequel. Unfortunately, it's not a very good one, in terms of a sequel, or a film in general. The film, which was co-written, and directed by Dean Jones, is intended to pick up where the last film left off, although one would never know it if they hadn't been told on the back of the box. The landscape of TOOLBOX MURDERS 2(also know as COFFIN BABY, and TBK : TOOLBOX MURDERS 2), is completely different from that of its predecessor. Here, the killer has relocated from the hotel from the first film, Lusman Arms, and into a generic abandoned warehouse-looking building, located somewhere within Hollywood. Also changed are the killer's habits. Now instead of being kind of reclusive and mysterious, the killer goes on the prowl, not unlike your average killer. So in other words, the whole mystique of the first film has been wiped out here, in favor of the uber generic. In terms of story, one surely has difficulty finding anything that resembles one. Plain and simple, there really isn't one to speak of. Aside from a few flashback scenes involving Samantha, which are an obvious attempt to create a story, most of the film has to do with the killer torturing, not only Samantha, but other victims as well, in addition to other forms of the killer's brutal butchery. 90% of the film has to do with effects, and not much else. It is the ultimate display of style over substance. Yes, the effects look great, but where is the story? And where are the characters? This film has 2 writers, yet the material here, suggests that it only took about 5 minutes to write. What, did each writer put in 2 and a half minutes of writing time?
The biggest tragedy, when it comes to TOOLBOX MURDERS 2, is not that its a bad film(it is), but that it takes everything that that the Tobe Hooper film created, and just shits on it. Going in, they had a lot to work with, including the Hollywood setting, and an already established villain, yet, they chose to take all of it, and make the dime-a-dozen, type gorefest that we are always seeing in low budget Horror films. You know, people always want to be hard on Tobe Hooper, especially when it comes to his newer stuff. But at least he is capable of telling a coherent story, and for the most part, always has been. If the filmmakers wanted to do this type of film, they would have been better off creating an "original" character. Why mess up something that a decent film has already accomplished?
During my time as a reviewer, I have reviewed almost every SCREAM! FACTORY release to date, and I must say that this is the worst film they have ever released. Quite frankly, I still can't believe that they would want their name on this one. Not only is TOOLBOX MURDERS 2 devoid of any type of story, but it also suffers from bad performances all around. Actress Chauntal Lewis, who portrays "Samantha", does a bad Bobbi Sue Luther impersonation, as the film tries to fashion itself a film which closely resembles LAID TO REST. While vets like Bruce Dern and Clifton Powell, whom are obviously just here for the payday(which was probably half of the film's budget), struggle to appear interested. While Hooper's TOOLBOX MURDERS was a pretty enjoyable affair, a film, that I feel is a little underrated, TOOLBOX MURDERS 2 manages to be the complete opposite. It is a complete mess, of epic proportions.
8/10 Since they are all this film seems to be about - yes, this film is filled to the brim with gore effects. There are multiple severed limbs, multiple beheadings, bodies dismembered, and mutilated throughout, along with other wounds, and a display of bloody cannibalism. Yes, the effects look good, and there are a lot of them, but that doesn't always translate to a good film. Personally, I feel that the effect took on too much focus here. It just becomes boring.
IMPRESSION OF THE FILM
Yes, I do like gore effects, but I like story more. Which is why a film like this makes no sense to me. TOOLBOX MURDERS 2 is such a film, that believes that, if it over saturates itself with good gore effects, the viewer won't pay much attention to the fact that it has little to no story behind it. That's what we have here. At 95 minutes, about 85 of those minutes are spent on gore and nothing more. Who wants that? Call it a practical effects highlight reel, but don't call it a feature film. Yes, TOOLBOX MURDERS 2, is a film that is meant to be a sequel, yet the film is so far removed from its predecessor, that one could hardly call it a true follow up. If there was ever a time to trust one of my reviews, that would be now. Stay far away from this one, especially if you enjoyed Tobe Hooper's TOOLBOX MURDERS, even in the least bit.