THE REFRIGERATOR is billed as a supernatural horror comedy which ultimately is its downfall--too many chickens in the pot. First-time director Nicholas Jacobs's juxtaposition of genres is compelling in thought, but unfortunately on film the results just don't measure up.
Eileen (Julia Mueller) and Steve Bateman (David Simonds) are freshly married, carefree and faced with a bright future as they leave Ohio for their new life together in New York City. Steve has landed a new job, Eileen has her career as an actress to anticipate, and they've been told of a great
apartment which is available. The only problem with this particular apartment is that it comes replete with a haunted refrigerator. The prospective renters aren't spooked off when a mysterious woman (Phyllis Sanz) appears out of nowhere offering the prophetic words, "Get out!"
After moving into the place, for a song, courtesy of a desperate landlord who has had trouble keeping tenants alive, the happy couple are suprised to find Steve's favorite cheese waiting in the fridge. It isn't long though before the fridge stops giving and starts taking. It begins emitting
strange yellow light, oozes sludge and growls at all hours of the night. Steve's behavior grows stranger too as he becomes compelled to stand in front of the icebox in a trancelike state. This creates a growing chasm between the newlyweds; Eileen, who's begun having frightening flashbacks from her
childhood, seems to be getting more attention from the building's plumber, Juan (Angel Caban), a sympathetic type who once dreamt of being a dancer in his native Bolivia.
Before long the refrigerator turns vicious and kills a maintenance man, then it swallows Eileen's mother in a gulp. Eileen begs Steve to throw it out, but even after Juan yells, "It is the gateway to Hell, the very devil himself," her hubby can't justify spending money for a new one. The final
horrible night arrives and Steve is killed by Eileen as he tries to drag her off to Hell. This is followed by an orgy of kitchen appliances gone mad. Eileen and Juan barely escape with their lives, but go on to success as a flamenco team.
While the basic premise of THE REFRIGERATOR--take a couple of dream yuppies and plop them into a world of madness and horror--is satirical and wry, the final results aren't very satisfying. The main failure of the film is that none of the separate entities work on their own--the funny scenes
generally aren't funny and the scary parts, while original in idea, aren't scary, only overly gory. On top of this, Jacobs throws in a couple of ultraserious segments involving the mother-daughter relationship that are completely out of place.
Mueller and Simonds as the jinxed couple offer up the right amount of exuberance and angst. Caban, though, as the plumber who looks more like an urban commando, best fits his role. Jacobs's eclectic use of music, from campy to melodramatic, is one of the highlights of the film. If he had put a
little more punch in his screenplay, been more daring with his satire and put some real scares in the film, the end result would have made a lot more sense. Maybe his intentions weren't to make us laugh or get chills down our spine--it's a parody, after all. Perhaps he just wanted to make a
statement about the inherent evil of domesticity. If so, it could have been done many other ways. (Violence, profanity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1992
- Rating: NR
- Review: THE REFRIGERATOR is billed as a supernatural horror comedy which ultimately is its downfall--too many chickens in the pot. First-time director Nicholas Jacobs's juxtaposition of genres is compelling in thought, but unfortunately on film the results just do… (more)