DVD Review: Melvin
Studio: 531 Productions
DVD Release Date: 2009
Directed By: Henry Weintraub
Cast: Leif Fuller, Patrick O’Driscoll Lilly Maher
Review By: Marc Patterson
High school. Two soul crushing words and I’ve said enough. Enter a classic nerd by the name of Melvin getting bullied by everyone from tattooed cheerleaders to punk rockers. Now I’ve probably said too much. You can see where this is going can’t you? Melvin is bullied to the point of no return, except that’s the exactly conundrum at hand. Melvin is pushed past that point, killed by his tormentors, and does indeed return, but through the body of another pathetic geek who goes by the name of Norton. Now it’s payback time.
Melvin is a short running brainless romp of b-cinema combining elements from Revenge of the Nerds, Night of the Living Dead, with a little Return of the Living Dead mixed in for the right level of stupid fun. It even manages to pack in plenty of schlocky gore reminiscent of such old 80’s gore-fests as Pieces. If one thing is guaranteed, it’s that plenty of the red gets spread here. It wouldn’t be a long shot to call Melvin a tribute film on multiple levels. It even features a great synth-filled soundtrack that alludes to said 80’s cheeseball horror and with interlaced snippets of a fake grindhouse film “Night of the Driller” the various nods to old time horror cinema are made complete, creating a lowbrow, yet thoroughly entertaining B Movie extravaganza. However, Melvin isn’t without its share of hang-ups that make this otherwise enjoyable occasion a bit of a messy affair.
Foremost, the film takes a basic “horror 101” revenge story formula and intersperses it with flashback sequences that fail to prominently announce, or show themselves as true flashbacks, which causes significant viewer confusion right out of the gate. For a film of such a simple nature these annoyances would have been best relegated to the cutting floor, or at least presented in a more “braindead” linear fashion. B Cinema should never over think anything. Though one could argue fairly that this is a seemingly small oversight the problem becomes rather big as once you’ve caused your audience to question what’s happening on screen you’ve lost them completely.
The characters are also excruciatingly dumb and unlikeable, but that’s par for course in films such as this. However, even the female lead Wendy, Melvin’s older sister, who has the most endearing and likeable qualities comes off as a bit of a knucklehead. It’s too bad, because she really was my favorite. The film is chock full of this sort of tomfoolery. Punks that act more like jocks, cheerleaders who are tattooed and clearly too old for high school, and nerds who are unbelievably… well nerdy. It’s a plethora of characters so over the top you can’t help but enjoy it on the most superficial of levels, and that’s really the key point here. Don’t take anything seriously. Doing so will only lead to disappointment.
But let’s get back to the fun. Sure the film is veritable mess, and yeah it’s utterly stupid, but thanks to its relatively slick production values that are well above what one might expect from no-budget filmmaking you’ve got a bit of zombie cinema that manages to thoroughly entertain in a low brow 80’s splatter-fest kind of way. And sometimes, after a really shitty day in the cube farm, a jaunt with some dumbed down horror is exactly the thing that’s needed.
Brutal As Hell Rating:
3 out of 5