JULY 14, 2007
Well, at least no one can ever accuse me of abandoning the Mangler franchise.
You know you’re in trouble when the biggest star in the movie, besides poor Lance Henriksen (or, as the credits spell it, Henricksen, the fucking idiots), is Will Sanderson, a.k.a. “The guy from all the Uwe Boll movies.” You know you’re in even MORE trouble when you wish you were watching him in one of those instead. Yes, The Mangler 2 is so bad, you could find yourselves saying “I wish I was watching House of the Dead”.
It almost takes a certain kind of talent to actually make a movie that fails to live up to the original film, which, if you don’t recall (and hopefully you don’t), was about a giant laundry machine running around killing folks. But yet, Michael Hamilton-Wright (why does he have a maiden name?) managed to do just that, making an “in name only” sequel that manages to make other “in name only” sequels look like they’re on a LOTR or Star Wars level of franchise consistency. It’s almost admirable that they came up with something even stupider than a rampaging laundry machine (a computer virus that somehow can control assorted cables and wires and use them to grab garden shears and kill a guy offscreen), but how they got away with still calling it a Mangler movie is beyond me. Kudos, gents.
Supposedly there was a pressing of the DVD that was somehow missing two minutes of the movie. I wish I had one of those. Instead, I got the whole goddamn thing. From the “French” cook who sounds more like an Italian with a cold, to the incoherent kill scenes (one, involving a fire axe, ranks as one of the most bafflingly vague kill scenes in history. The TV edit of Friday the 13th Part V is more coherent), to the fact that the filmmakers seemingly do not understand how to count (a clock counting down what should be 15 minutes is actually 15 hours if you pay attention), to the 20 LITERALLY NONSTOP minutes of techno music during the 3rd act, all the way to the idiotic notion that 5 potheads and misfits would be in charge of the dorms at this college, there is literally not a single point in the film where you may find yourself entertained.
Actually I take that back. There is a scene that is seemingly grafted in from another movie that I enjoyed in a ‘so bad it’s good’ way (as opposed to all of the other scenes, which were more of a ‘so bad I want to skullfuck myself to death’ way). A girl appears out of nowhere (the school is supposedly deserted, and the lass has never been seen prior) and begins doing laundry. A cupboard door starts banging from the inside. So she opens a different cupboard, and surprisingly enough, sees nothing. Then she drinks some gin. Then the whole scene more or less repeats twice. Finally, a giant steam press of some sort (this is the closest the film comes to having any relation to the original) which has no business being in such a high tech school’s laundry room (?) in the first place, somehow manages to get a hold of her hair, pull her inside, and I guess flatten her head. Like all of the other kill scenes in the film, it’s edited and shot in order to hide, well, everything. I am only assuming what happened to her, as all we get is a shot of some hair going through the roller thing, and then some blood spraying on the wall. They never even set up that the steam press is in the room. It’s so inane I had to laugh, before I resumed crying.
It’s a shame to see Lance slumming in garbage like this. The guy is one of the best all time genre actors, and while he may not have the best sense in choosing scripts, he usually elevates a film simply with his presence. But he has no such luck here. He plays his final scene suspended by some of those magic cables I mentioned earlier, and speaking dialog like “Show me what you want, what you really really want.” Oh… oh Lance… *shakes head*.
I was hoping the commentary track would at least be honest, with the filmmakers making fun of the film and pointing out all the gaps in logic, storytelling, etc. But no, they are seemingly of the impression they made a good film, and instead of dishing dirt on the shitty effects team or whatever, they go on and on about lighting, point out “homages” to vastly superior films and directors (“This is my Scorsese shot” he says, without even a trace of irony), and praise just about everyone, including themselves. They’re also fond of reciting the actors’ résumés, even reminding us twice of why we usually would be excited to see Lance (“He played Bishop in Aliens”, they tell us after he first appears and then again later for good measure). There’s some other extras on the DVD, but life is too short. Hell, even if I was a goddamn immortal, life would be too short.
I cannot not recommend this movie enough.
What say you?