"The Mangler Reborn"
The Mangler has been
chugging along for quite some time. After its first lacklustre excursion,
the creators brought in Freddy Kreuger hisself, a snarling, snappish,
hissing snake of a Robert Englund to helm the second one. And in
a very interesting way, it did sort of work.
But now, there's the
third one. Believability stretched to the limits, they couldn't
very well put this giant monstrousity back in a laundromat. No one
cleans clothes like this today--even the oldest industrial laundry
has found different methods.
Their response? To put
it in the hands of a private collector.
So what we have here
is the story of a true American moron. Apparently, after the second
Mangler, and its inevitable deconstruction, a blue-collar family
joe by the name of Hadley found parts from the homicidal laundry
device and started to build a new machine from said parts.
Naturally, it doesn't
go well, and the parts scavenger starts a long, slow, ninety minute
descent into madness.
As if that weren't enough,
to keep himself from decaying as a result of his possession by the
evil laundry device, he's got to feed it warm human bodies.
First off, I love that
opening credit sequence. It's been done before, but there's nothing
like a good old fashioned montage of newspaper clippings to show
that a franchise has been running for a long, long time.
But then, almost as if
to underscore the fact that we're not dealing with a cultural phenomenon
here, check out the fanservice at the eleven minute thirty second
mark. That's right, folks, fanservice. Watch as the camera focuses
almost lovingly, and just a little creepily, on our female lead's
assets. That's right--it's a shower scene. An honest to goodness
I had honestly thought
the horror industry had pretty much given up on the shower scene
as cheesy as far back as 1995, but here it is, alive and well and
full of titties. It was a wonder they didn't add some flashing arrows
in post-production. Just for a dash of irony, this is almost exactly
the time our female lead breaks down in tears, as though even SHE
knows how cheesy this is.
And check out that hammer
blow at fifteen minutes and seventeen seconds! Oh MAN! Is that EVER
cheesy or what?? Frame advance real carefully and discover that
that hammer doesn't even make a brushing contact. In this case,
the female lead beats hell out of Hedley, who's apparently also
a plumber. She makes it look like she took that hit, even almost
leaping out of her chair with the percussion. He, on the other hand,
can't make a convincing hammer blow to save all our lives.
Apparently, Gardner and
Cunningham have watched a lot of horror movies in their day, and
can't resist using all the standard conventions, including such
"Let's Hide Under
The Bed! He'll NEVER Look There!"
But Stylish, Weapons!"
"The Killer Is Somehow
Nigh-Invulnerable, And Takes Far More Punishment Than A Human Should!"
However, there is a surprising
turn for the original as better than the last half of the film involves
a thief in the killer's midst. It's a very inventive sequence as
a guy breaks into the killer's house and discovers what all's going
on. The thief's son, waiting outside as the wheelman, will thus
have to break in to find out what happened to his father, as well
as to everyone else in the house. And there's more than the thief,
his son and the killer in there, too.
And then, Weston Blakesley
tries to hit yet ANOTHER victim with a hammer.
Could no one have spared
the extra few bucks for Blakesley to take a freaking stage-combat
The ending is a surprisingly
harrowing and thrill-packed experience as all the great conventions
get built into one single forceful thrust. Plus, there's more stage
blood than you can shake a DP at, fake body parts go flying everywhere,
and your class X surprise twist.
The special features
include trailers for "Saw II", "The Devil's Rejects",
"War of the Planets", "The Mangler Reborn",
and probably plenty of other stuff that just didn't make it to the
screener copy I got.
All in all, let's be
honest. "The Mangler Reborn" is a slasher movie. Frankly,
one of the bloodiest I've seen in some while, especially toward
the end. Yet it's one that manages to utilize all the conventions.
Whether they be ones that always worked, or ones that should have
been retired long long ago, most to all of them are present. For
better or for worse. What's good about "The Mangler Reborn"
is very good indeed. But what's bad about it is all the worse.
GRADE: 3 stars ***
Directed by Erik Gardner, Matt Cunningham
Written by Erik Gardner, Matt Cunningham
Starring Aimee Brooks, Reggie Bannister, Weston Blakesley, Scott
Produced by Dan Golden, Scott Pearlman, Mark Burman, Barry Barnholtz
Video Store Guy knows the best movies you've never seen. Check his
Reel Advice weekly at www.monstersandcritics.com