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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
The Mangler 2 (2001)

"Rest assured that this is an integrated system, and for the most part should not interfere with your daily activities. There is, however, one key element that will affect all of you. It is impossible to enter any building or pass through any door without first identifying yourself."
- Headmaster Badian (Lance Henriksen)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: February 28, 2002

Stars: Lance Henriksen, Chelse Swain
Other Stars: Will Sanderson, Philippe Bergeron, Miles Meadows, Daniella Evangelista, Dexter Bell
Director: Michael Hamilton-Wright

MPAA Rating: R for violence and language
Run Time: 01h:34m:08s
Release Date: February 19, 2002
UPC: 012236124900
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C- C-CB- B+

DVD Review

This is the type of loosely-themed horror sequel that only exists to recreate the "spirit" of the original, in this case a forgettable 1995 Tobe Hooper film, based on a short story by Stephen King. What that means is that there is very little (re: NOTHING) in common with The Mangler. Hooper's film centered around a deadly laundry folding machine (!), and for The Mangler 2, the demonic entity is a high-tech computer system that runs amok at a private school, with predictably fatal results. First-time director Michael Hamilton-Wright, who, according to the liner notes, penned the script in eight days, follows the pattern set by any number of horror films that find an assorted cadre of characters tormented by some type of malicious evil.Moody goth chick Jo Newton (Chelse Swain) is the teenaged daughter of the wealthy benefactor/inventor/founder of The Newton Corporation, which is one of those movie-specific creepy and nefarious high-tech institutions. The Newton Corporation has developed a new computer system, dubbed the N2K, which is installed at Jo's school (the gloomy and oddly named Royal Collegiate College) over spring break. We're told that the N2K operates on an advanced artificial intelligence, or "high modular interface", and not only controls all the mechanical devices at the school, but operates the security cameras, as well. For reasons that are never fully explained, the college apparently requires deadly electrified fences around its perimeter (crazed jackals, perhaps?), this is, of course, also controlled by the N2K.The story kicks in, or at least as much as it is going to, when troublemaker Jo intentionally downloads a computer virus called the Mangler 2.0 to get back at student-hating Headmaster Badian (Lance Henriksen). Once unleashed, the virus takes over the N2K system, and proceeds to dispense with some comically weird methods of destruction for an assortment of unlucky characters, via the bleachers, the sprinkler system, a freezer and that darn electric fence. Even the youngest computer user will probably giggle in their beer over some of the inherently silly situations caused by The Mangler virus and N2K computer system, to say nothing of the unrealistic interfaces. You know a filmmaker is lowering the dramatic bar when he resorts to having one of his female leads, in this case Daniella Evangelista's Emily, run around in a bikini top during 90% of the film. On a strictly voyeuristic level, that is not a bad thing, as Evangelista is a knockout. Maybe it's my advancing age, but despite the sexy ploy, the whole bit seemed a bit hollow, and reeked of desperation. It felt weird to be constantly staring at her jiggly chest, instead of being concerned about the overall lack of dramatic tension in the film.What Lance Henriksen is doing in The Mangler 2 is anyone's guess; I sense a quick paycheck. He does his by-the-book gruff grumble, and somehow still manages to give the film more street cred than it deserves. From Alien's Bishop to Millennium's Frank Black, the guy really knows how to set a mood. Henriksen is the marquee name here, and though his role is fairly small, he does have a strong presence that overshadows the rest of the cast.Even the grimly entertaining Henriksen, though, can't carry the rest of this goofy film. The Mangler 2 is so far down the alphabet that it wishes it could be a B-movie.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Artisan's 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer has a couple of nicks and scratch marks, but in general is clean and free of blemishes. The downside is a color palette that appears washed out, without any substantial saturation. Colors are lifeless and flat. Muddy blacks prevent any detailed shadow delineation. Significant grain, no doubt a result of its low-budget roots, is evident throughoutNot good. Maybe The Mangler virus got a hold of it...

Image Transfer Grade: C

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Mangler 2 features two audio mixes, in 5.1 Dolby Digital and 2.0 Surround. However, you will be hard pressed to find any real difference between the two. The almost complete lack of rear channel cues relegate this disc to essentially a 2-channel experience, and as a result the 5.1 is unnecessary as an option. Dialogue is mixed well, though there isn't any significant separation or directional imaging.In its favor, the mediocre audio transfer is suitably matched to the film content. I don't think expanded surround cues would have made this any more or less enjoyable.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
Production Notes
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Michael Hamilton-Wright, Glen Tedham, Philippe Bergeron
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Music videos
Extras Review: This disc is packaged with more extras than one might expect from a film of this quality. Aside from the 20 full-motion chapter stops and subtitles in English and Spanish, the extras include a widescreen theatrical trailer, bios, filmographies, and an outtakes reel (3m:29s). The meat-and-potatoes from Artisan are:CommentaryA full-length, scene-specific commentary from director Michael Hamilton-Wright, producer Glen Tedham and actor Philippe Bergeron made me wish I could have liked this film more, as it is apparent that these three (especially Hamilton-Wright) are quite pleased with the final product, and apparently put a fair amount of thought into it. The commentary has plenty of humor, most of it coming from Bergeron, who is quick to point out how his name is misspelled in the opening and closing credits. Much of the chat centers on the location, which was a military base in British Columbia that was undergoing renovation. There are some rewarding, but odd moments, such as when Hamilton-Wright points out that the first death scene is an homage to Exorcist III (when was the last time you ever heard anyone cop to that?). He also indicates when Chelse Swain's sister Dominique (Lolita) appears as a double in one scene.Behind-The-Scenes of The Mangler 2 (12m:45s)In this featurette, which is less of an in-depth look at the production and more of a light, breezy promo, most of the cast principles offer a few generic comments, including an almost jovial sounding Henriksen. Music VideosThe Mangler 2 features music by the semi-grungy band SunLikeStar, and Artisan has tossed in a pair of their music videos, neither of which feature clips from the film:50/50 (4m:24s)Day Survive (4m:12s)

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

The low-budget, pseudo-sequel features a malevolent virus merging with a sophisticated artificial intelligence system. As high concept, the storyline has potential. Unfortunately, successful execution is another thing entirely. Did I mention one of the female characters runs around in a bikini top for nearly the whole film?

 


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