531 Productions // 2009 // 64 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 3rd, 2009
Melvin will teach you that getting picked on at school can be a real killer.
Straight out of Oregon, from the little film outfit 531 Productions, comes their debut feature, a little slasher/zombie/chost/splatter effort that brings to life the long-time nerd fantasy of exerting violent revenge on high school bullies.
Melvin is a deceased nerd who received much abuse at the hands of the Cool Kids, and tragically died as a result of that trauma. Years later, we meet a college student named Norton Pincus, a popular lacrosse player who volunteers to build orphanages in Zambia. Nah, just kidding. He's a humongous nerd, too, and Melvin, back from the dead, decides to possess him and go kill a bunch of fools. That's your movie. Melvin/Norton go about engaging in all manner of grotesque murders, systematically wiping out the clowns who were so mean back in high school.
You know, it's ironic this movie is called Melvin. If I remember my Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey correctly, the "Melvin" is a frontal wedgie, an accurate metaphor for this viewing experience. It's kind of painfully good fun. There are some laughs to be had, but you're just going to end up with a sore crotch. Well, maybe not that last part. The comparison got away from me.
I like the humor and the gore, and the guys behind the film have an obvious, abiding respect for the splatter-comedy genre. Alas, this doesn't prevent the end result from being an incoherent, disjointed mess. For example, there are a couple of extended sequences from a previous undeveloped movie -- featuring a cameo from Troma's Lloyd Kaufman -- which go on way too long and pretty much nuke the film's momentum.
The best thing going for Melvin is the slapstick gore. The gag effects might be Z-grade and borderline cheesy (fine, extremely cheesy), but it's obvious these folks blew a decent budgetary line item to purchases fake heads and stuff. The tail end of the film, while mired in a complete plot breakdown, is an enjoyable orgy of low-rent practical gore effects. If only the film itself had a bit more punch.
The DVD is okay, coming in with a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 2.0 stereo, both serviceable. Extras: director's commentary, a making-of featurette (heavy on the candid footage), music videos, image gallery, and the short film Depraved.
I appreciate the effort and some parts were big fun, but guilty is guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: 531 Productions
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 64 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Image Gallery
* Music Videos
* Short Film