The Refrigerator – 2 out of 5
When this film first came out on the now ancient medium of VHS, my father and I found it at a mom and pop video store and knew we couldn’t pass off a horror film about an appliance that Bill O’Reilly finds shocking that poor people own them. Even at a young age, my dad instilled in me a love of cheesy horror films and this one looked like it had a crisper drawer full of cheeses—in a cornucopia of sizes, brands and types. I fondly remember us laughing at The Refrigerator and decided that, since it is October and horror films are the name of the game right now, I would dig out the old VHS copy and revisit some old memories.
|Look at that evil piece of shit. Thinks he's king of the apartment.|
|When this is the man showing you your apartment,|
it's safe to assume something is evil in the
Steve and Eileen Bateman are a newlywed couple ready to move out of the Midwest and make their life in the Big Apple. After a couple mysteriously disappears from their apartment, they find themselves a new home while Steve (Dave Simonds) tries to make it big at his new job and Eileen (Julia McNeal) tries to make it as an actress. Cryptic warnings from a mysterious woman in their building named Tanya (Phyllis Sanz) warns Eileen that there is something wrong and they should leave but Steve seems to be obsessed with their new home. Thanks to the building’s plumber Juan (Angel Caban), Eileen learns that their apartment came with a fridge that is pure evil. It’s tormenting her, killing people and possessing Steve. But it’s not just that the refrigerator is evil because, as Juan informs Eileen, the fridge is actually a gateway to Hell itself…
|Steve seems super okay with the fridge from Hell.|
|A man name Juan attacking a fridge? What a cliche!|
It’s easy to write this film off from the title alone because, let’s face it, when horror films try to have haunted appliances or try to make the mundane objects in our lives threatening usually never works (I’ll say usually just because a decent example isn’t coming to mind right away…maybe Christine but even that was a tad silly) and often this recipe just comes off like a joke. However, it seems the writer and production of The Refrigerator understood this and never attempted to go full horror with this one and ended up making it a dark comedy. Partially, this formula works for this feature and there are some genuinely amusing moments. The film is never flat out funny but it is definitely an experience that is fun to sit through.
|The bump in sales that Rolling Rock and Aunt Jemima had after this film was|
|I'll be honest, Juan was my favorite character. I think|
it's the chain on his ensemble that sinks that decision.
Most of the humor, ultimately though, is derived entirely from the poor production of the film. The acting, with some exceptions, is pretty bad but Simonds, McNeal and Caban really seemed to understand the feel the film was striving for and were able to get that right blend of hammy, scenery chewing acting that never gets to be too distracting or too awful. Things also get pretty amusing thanks to really bad practical effects and the sloppy deaths that come from the fridge. The body count in this one isn’t very high and the deaths are never that unique or memorable (there’s also very little gore with them) and the piss-poor presentation of them is disappointing—or would be disappointing if you expected some terror and horrific images from a film called The Refrigerator. However, since this film is actively going against making something terrifying, these poorly made and executed deaths actual work in favor of the film’s comedy.
|Julia McNeal could be a stunt double for Heather Graham. Or, you know what?|
Graham should be McNeal's stunt double. I got your back, girlfriend!
|"Your death is clearly heating you up. Let me cool|
For what the final product is striving for, The Refrigerator works. The story makes all the sense it needs for such a thing, the acting may not even be worthy of a commercial but it is serviceable and the bad deaths and light gore adds to the humorous nature of the tale. The film isn’t the best example of a dark comedy and more of the laughs come from the ridiculous nature of the feature (and occasionally mocking it) but I won’t deny the entertainment it delivers nor the fond memory I have of laughing the day away with my dad while we watched it. Like my review of Death Spa, this film is one of those great films to watch with a bunch of friends and have a great evening of hearty laughs and chuckles.