Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
and Lloyd Kaufman
What's it about
A pair of nerdsóone dead, one aliveótake revenge on a pair of clichťd punks who bully the one who is alive and who killed the dead one.
Is it good movie?
An indie flick that attempts to capture the Troma style of filmmaking is more or less critic proof so no matter what follows here wonít really matter if you dig the Troma line of nuttiness. It should be stated that Iím not necessary a Troma fan. I respect the empire that Lloyd Kaufman built, but that style of movie with its exaggerated acting, overtop gore and abundance of cheese just doesnít do it for me outside The Toxic Avenger which I loved as a kid. Other than that, nothing has really captured my attention.
But the new indie film Melvin isnít Toxic Avenger nor is it a Troma release even though Kaufman makes a brief cameo appearance. In fact, the story for Melvin is something Iíve seen before a few times in different films by creating a nerd version of Night of the Living Dead. Only this time itís Dead fused with American Werewolf in London. Thatís not a bad thing, but nothing screamed originality. It felt as if a film inspiration, not an inspired film. And with only a running time of just above an hour, it felt like a fan film, not a complete project.
Melvin stars two nerds. One died sometime in the past I guess while the other starts to see the dead one as he loses grasp on reality. Now that sounds straightforward enough, but the chorological order is poor and the two nerds look nearly identical, making an uneasy viewing. If I werenít reviewing the thing, I would have flipped the channel. Throughout the first 25 minutes or so, I didnít realize Melvinís (the dead nerd) scenes took place in the past. And if a viewer doesnít realize that quickly, itís tough to set up when he returns.
Melvin, shot somewhere in Oregon, emulates everything that made Troma a mild success. It has the gore, the cheese, and the horrific acting, but the end product is a jumbled mess. Nothing makes too much sense nor is it easy to follow as it weaves between the past and the present without a signifier or real reason to do so. Itís not clear if weíre seeing two simultaneous stories or two separate ones. The result is a weak, confusing story to the amateur nature of the script and direction. If those major issues had been tightened, perhaps thereíd be more to dig about Melvin. But as it stands, it feels like a rough draft.
Video / Audio
Video: A grainy 16x9 Widescreen presentation.
Audio: Presented with the power of 2.0 Surround. Iím pretty sure they looped all the dialogue throughout the entire film.
Commentary: Director Henry Weintraub and actor Patrick OíDriscoll provide a pretty entertaining track that helps to enhance the movie. And as with any successful commentary, by the end one should feel apart of the indie experience and I did here.
The Making Of: Itís a literal behind the scenes look at the production with shots of the production being made. Somewhat interesting. Not necessarily captivating.
Plus, thereís a teaser, trailer, and pics.
I liked quite a bit of what Melvin attempted to do. I can live with the budget and the effects, but when the direction and the story are lackluster, well, itís just doesnít hold attention. And I need something to hold my attention. Iím just like that. Otherwise, Iíll watch something stupid. Like Maury.