This aborted sequel to Tobe Hooper’s Toolbox Murders was shut down when it turned out the producers never actually had the rights to the property. It was completed as a separate entity entitled Coffin Baby (a superior title we can all agree) in 2013, then hacked up and re-released as Toolbox Murders 2 in 2015.
The botched production history goes some way to explaining why Toolbox Murders 2 resembles a lower-budget version of Take My Hand, Jenna Maroney’s Saw ripoff from 30 Rock (“In fact, the producers of this movie rented Saw and watched it”). It lacks the basic structure of even the simplest torture porn, partly because it excises 15 minutes of material from Coffin Baby and puts the rest in a random order.
Dean Jones’ bare-bones setup sees the Toolbox Killer (Christopher Doyle) lock a woman (Chauntal Lewis) in a basement, feed her human flesh (with seasoning, he’s not a monster) and worst of all, force her to watch what is quite clearly this film on TV. Her hair stays perfectly conditioned for the two-week vacation she spends in the cage, so the only indicator of time passing are titles telling us how many days she has been in there without bothering to attempt escape. We are never told who she is or why she is so stupid; upon seeing her boyfriend beheaded and disemboweled, she says, “Why me?!” and then, “Let him go!”
Aside from some impressive gore effects, the only vaguely interesting thing about this mess is a cast that includes Bruce Dern, Ron Chaney (a descendant of horror icon Lon Chaney), Edgar Allan Poe IV (sensing a pattern here) and Lianne Spiderbaby (Quentin Tarantino’s disgraced critic ex-girlfriend). That is more names than there are characters so presumably they all played corpses. There is so little film here it makes Hooper’s previous paper-thin plot look like the work of Edgar Allen Poe (the real one). The crowdfunding campaign for Toolbox Murders 3 was closed with £302 from 12 backers; sadly not quite enough, even for a Toolbox Murders movie.