Toolbox Murders DVD Review
PictureTo be honest, here, I thought that I had the 70's version of this movie. I kept on watching and it was only when the character of Julia Cunningham (Juliet Landau of Angel and Buffy's Drusilla fame) appeared that it clicked. The picture quality is really very bad indeed. Think of those older 70's movies and you get the idea: restricted colour palette, more grain that a farmer can shake a combine harvester at and a strangely soft picture. Most of the movie is shot in very shadowy locales, with a Rembrandtesque lighting structure. This isn't a problem if the shadows have a texture, but they don't. All you get is flat sheets of black ice slicing through an already sub-par picture. Not a movie to show of your new 60” plasma, then.
SoundThere are some pretty impressive bass swells in this movie. It had my sub distorting at one point, though I was watching at higher than average levels. Certainly something like a small 8” low powered sub won't have nearly the amount of grunt to plumb the bass depths (and decibels). Treble is okay if not as clear as more financially well endowed movies. Dialogue is fine, if a little subdued at times lacking a sparkle, a bite that would have the sound come across as more intense. Some of the sound effects are supremely wet sounding as grinders slice through bodies and hammers cave in skulls. Sound is a very important tool for horror, and Toolbox benefits from it's better than average soundtrack.
ExtrasIn the uncut version the grisly death scenes would be present in their entirety, but some violence has been culled in this 'R' rated version. The deleted scenes are essentially full length versions of the murders, and mighty gory it is too. Hurrah for the DVD extras! There are commentaries on this disc which are enjoyable, but nothing special. Otherwise you are left with a humorous, if short, video from a horror movie convention. If extras are your thing, then you should wait for the UK Anchor Bay release which will be completely uncut (some of the death scenes in this version are culled) and come in the form of a 2 disc special edition.
VerdictToolbox murders is as old skool as it gets. If you are after a sophisticated sixth sense style thriller or even Tobe Hooper's own Chainsaw massacre, then you will be disappointed. If you are after some cheep thrills Halloween style, then this will fit the bill nicely, just don't complain when the Anchor Bay version comes out.
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