Today’s feature is the last in an unnecessary trilogy of horror movies about a killer laundry folding machine: The Mangler Reborn.
The Mangler Reborn was co-written and co-directed by the duo of Eric Gardner and Matt Cunningham, who have worked on such films as Decampitated, Altered Species, and Starship Troopers.
The cinematographer for the film was Thaddeus Wadleigh, who shot the acclaimed documentaries The Invisible War and Who Killed The Electric Car?.
The team of producers on the movie included Barry Barnholtz (Leprechaun, The Mangler 2), Mark Burman (Piranha Sharks), Melvin Butters (Bundy: An American Icon), Dan Golden (Sharktopus, Supergator), and Scott Pearlman (Birdemic 2).
The effects work for The Mangler Reborn was provided by Nicole Dome (The Dread), Elizabeth Fox (Bikini Pirates), Brian Hillard (Seven Psychopaths, No Country For Old Men), Amy Mills (@midnight), Lara Salzano (Spike), and Richard Miranda (Monster High, The Running Man).
Before The Mangler Reborn, two previous entries were made into the franchise: The Mangler and The Mangler II. The movies have been far from loved by audiences: none of them have managed to accrue over a 4.0 rating on IMDb, and The Mangler Reborn is no exception at an abysmal 3.1.
The first thing I noticed about The Mangler Reborn is that it looks very cheap, almost like it was someone’s home video project. While The Mangler certainly isn’t good, there is no mistaking that it is clearly a movie made by professionals.
There is also very little in the way of meaningful connections to tie this fairly generic serial killer movie to The Mangler, apart from the establishment that the killer is apparently possessed by the spirit of the machine, and feeds his victims to it. I wouldn’t honestly be surprised if this screenplay existed in some form before there was any plan to make it a sequel to The Mangler.
If there is anything positive to say about The Mangler Reborn, it is that Weston Blakesley plays the possessed serial killer, Hadley, very well. His character is partially terrifying just because he is such an everyman, but there is also an understated creepiness to Blakesley’s rigid physical performance. He looks and sounds like a person being controlled, which is effectively off-putting in an otherwise shallow and uninspired movie.
The plot structure definitely doesn’t help the slow, dull pace of the film at all. For most of the story, the audience are presented with a series of characters who are presented with the identical challenge of escaping from Hadley’s murder-house. Ultimately, they all fail in very similar ways, providing no sense of progress or variety. The way this film is executed only has the material to really fill out a short movie, but to make a feature, the same actions are repeated multiple times. To say the least, it makes the film very tiring to sit through.
Overall, I was immensely disappointed with The Mangler Reborn. I expected more nonsense folding machine murders, but instead got a crappy serial killer movie with the iconic evil folding machine awkwardly wedged into the plot. Unless you are deathly curious or are determined to complete The Mangler trilogy (but why would you?), there’s no reason to spend the time watching through The Mangler Reborn. If there’s anything this film did do for me, it effectively reminded me how much fun the ridiculous original The Mangler was by comparison, so I recommend people dig that one up.