One would expect a horror movie about a possessed laundry-press to put the audience through the wringer. Instead, this tedious Stephen King adaptation takes the two-dimensional characters of the source story and squashes them even flatter.
Adapted by Hooper, Stephen Brooks and Peter Welbeck from a King short story, The Mangler is ludicrous from start to finish: Its plot lines dangle, its effects fail to dazzle and the acting and directing are uniformly bad. The movie looks as if it's gone through its namesake, the five-ton, 40-foot-long Hadley Watson Model-6 Steam Ironer & Folder. Even the least demanding of genre fans will be hard-pressed to tremble in its presence.
Rene RodriguezMiami Herald
The Mangler is one of the worst movies we've seen in years, and we've seen a lot of movies. [6 Mar 1995, p.5C]
Steven ReaPhiladelphia Inquirer
Plodding and virtually plotless (employee gets caught in maw of machine, blood squirts, boss tells everyone to get back to work, employee gets caught in maw of machine...), The Mangler might have been amusing if it had been played for laughs. Instead, this dreary yarn is hardly played for anything. [6 Mar 1995, p.D02]