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It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Movie

Reader Review

The Mangler 2

Posted by: Chris Conner
Date Submitted: Friday, July 18, 2003 at 11:33:31
Date Posted: Wednesday, December 22, 2004 at 11:51:24

Once upon a time, some folks decided to take Stephen King's short story "The Lawnmower Man" and turn it into a feature film. When they did this, they threw out the original concept of the story and turned it into a virtual reality nightmare. The end result was so radically different from the source material that Mr. King sued the movie folks to have his name disassociated with the whole thing.

A few years later, his short story "The Mangler" (a surprisingly convincing tale about a bloodthirsty laundry machine) was also turned into a movie. It was not a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but it turned out to be a somewhat interesting film.

Now, we skip along to "The Mangler 2." So you can buy one demonic laundry machine in a lifetime, but two is just ridiculous? Yes, it is. But fear not! Bearing absolutely no connection to the first movie, "The Mangler 2" features not another evil laundry machine but something much more marketable and up-to-date. This time, a private school has completely been wired into a central computer system so that everything (doors, lights, heat, air conditioning, etc) can be controlled remotely or automatically.

One of the students (a sterotypical black-lipstick-wearing hacker chick) decides to pull a funny and download a virus called (yeah, you see it comin' -- this ain't rocket science) "The Mangler." She sets this virus free into the school computer, thus unknowingly giving it a (murderous) mind of its own. Again, it doesn't take a high school graduate to figure out what happens next. Oh, wait. Maybe it DOES. Because NOTHING happens! Not a darn thing! People die, of course, but most of the deaths take place off-camera, and you can't help but think that they deserved what they got for wandering off in the first place.

Once the surviving members of the cast are out the school, they're completely out of danger. Totally and COMPLETELY. The worst thing the computer could do to them outside is soak them with the sprinkler system. But, like your average stupid movie teens, they go looking for trouble and one of them ends up getting fried by the electric fence in a scene you can see coming a mile off.

How they suckered Lance Henrikson into this mess is beyond me. He must have demanded most of the budget as a salary since the cash isn't on the screen. He looks VERY annoyed through most of the movie, as if he can't believe that he's been reduced to this.

Why no-talent goons are attracted to Stephen King and hell-bent on turning his work into virtual reality ultra-crap, I don't know, but at least the makers of "The Mangler 2" were smart enough to leave his name out of the credits from the beginning.

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