“You know. You’ve just come home from a movie, you had a great time, you go to the refrigerator to get a beer, you open the door, and you say, ‘Wait a minute …’” If a film has got the audience until they open the fridge, maintains [director Jonathan] Demme, then that’s all that matters.So Rose Could Have Saved Jack In Titanic — So What, It Still Passes The Fridge Test, The Guardian
The article also explains that the refrigerator test is a modification on Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘icebox question’.
I suppose as cooling and refrigeration grows more advanced, subsequent generations will find their own terminology to describe the same thing.
WHAT IS A REFRIGERATOR MOMENT?
This describes the moment you realise something in a movie didn’t add up. You’re gazing into the fridge looking for something to eat or drink.
REFRIGERATOR MOMENTS VS DELAYED DECODING
Importantly, writers either don’t know or don’t care about refrigerator moments. Some films are meant to be enjoyed at the time and don’t bear careful scrutiny. This describes some genre films e.g. Dead Girl (low-budget horror), “How did those dogs not catch them running down the corridor? Dogs have four legs. Of course those dogs would’ve caught them.
In contrast, creators of literary fiction or arthouse films aim for delayed decoding and would consider a refrigerator moment a fail. Delayed decoding refers to the post-reading experience in which more of the story makes sense, probably because the audience or reader has pieced the symbolism and imagery together to make more meaning from it.
PICTURES OF FRIDGES
Here’s what IKEA thinks fridges might be replaced with by 2025. Maybe a return to ‘ice boxes’?
Header image: advertisement for Frigidaire kitchen appliances from the November 1948 issue of The American Home.