The Refrigerator is the cream of appliance related horror movies, silly, fun but with a story that is interesting & well-told. Unlike many other horrors in this genre, The Refrigerator has characters you’ll care about, several sub-plots that tie into the main story well & enough slapstick horror & gore to keep everyone happy.
A drunk couple have arrived home & start to have sex on the floor of their kitchen before the man promptly falls asleep. The woman goes to get a drink & gets devoured by the fridge that sits looming over everything else.
Sometime later Steve & Eileen Bateman are moving into the apartment having moved so Eileen can pursue an acting career. Steve is starting a new job & has dreams of making it big in both his career & personal life. They can’t believe the price they get for the apartment & the fridge is thrown in for free!
Eileen is warned by a mysterious neighbour to not move in & Steve keeps running afoul of the local hoodlums. Their new start is off to even shakier ground as Steve’s brown-nosing at work sees him humiliated & Eileen’s friendship with Juan, the buildings handyman, makes him jealous.
Eileen has serious mother issues in flashbacks we see (her mother couldn’t cope with having a child) & the strain of being civil to her is taking its toll as well as her lack of acting opportunities.
The pair begin to have nightmares surrounding the fridge (wacky stuff). It worries Eileen but Steve seems more inspired & energetic afterwards. As more problems begin to build at work his relationship with Eileen begins to suffer & he begins to see her as a hindrance that needs to be fed to the fridge!
Initially it might appear as though the Refrigerator is nothing more than a low-budget, slapstick horror that stretches the realms of possibility way too far. The opening 5 minutes do not do the rest of the film justice as it is actually a really well told story that focuses more on the failing relationship of the lead couple because of the fridges influence.
The duo are both fine actors although Steve’s wackier & wackier behaviour becomes more amusing than it may have been intended to be. It does work though; in a movie about a killer fridge a certain level of wackiness is expected.
A large part of the film is taken up showing what pushes Steve to the edge, the man is trying very hard to make a better life for the couple & it has to be said that Eileen isn’t exactly the most supportive of wives. She spends most of the movie lazing around at home, talking to Juan & getting upset when an audition doesn’t go her way.
In a moment of cruelty she bemoans him for not being as fun & wild as he was in college! I genuinely couldn’t get behind her even though a sub-plot regarding her poor relationship with her mother tries to garner sympathy.
Her mother was incredibly abusive & struggled to raise her daughter, threatening to stab herself with a kitchen knife if her daughter misbehaved. The pair have glossed over this for years & years until one day the mother arrives to tell her daughter that she is sorry for what she did. It’s a really well done scene that lacks an emotional punch because both characters are so unlikable!
Anyway…back to the murderous fridge.
The demonic side of the kitchen appliance makes it a much more terrifying prospect, less about eating people & more about getting in their heads with some very unusual dream sequences. When the fridge does decide to chow down the gore flows wonderfully with the final moments in particular being a bloodbath highlight.
Gore-hounds will love the final scenes as the Juan & Eileen attempt to escape the apartment while the fridge brings all manner of kitchen appliances to life.
A much better movie than I anticipated with a well told story that doesn’t focus on the why or how of a killer fridge.