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Melvin (2009)

Melvin ReviewReviewed by Erik W. Van Der Wolf

Starring Leif Fuller, Patrick O’Driscoll, Lilly Maher

Written and Directed by Henry Weintraub

From 531 Productions


It’s no easy task to make a low budget movie, and you have to admire the people who actually go out and do it and aren’t content with sitting around and saying “We should make a movie!” then never do. It takes an incredible amount of time, energy and commitment to make a film, and that is always respected.

However, if you’re going to make a film and spend the kind of time and money it takes to accomplish that goal (as well as the time of the others who help you realize your vision), you should at least make sure you know how to tell a coherent narrative; something sorely lacking in Melvin, a confusing little zombie movie that tells the all too familiar tale of high school dork Melvin (Leif Fuller) who is harassed and abused not just by the male bullies of his school, but the female bullies as well, who do things like squeeze his ball sack if he doesn’t do their homework.

Or… does this movie tell the story of Norton (Patrick O’Driscoll), who is also harassed by the same group of bullies in college? Because we seem to spend more time with Norton than we do Melvin, whom the movie is supposedly named after. And when did the film move from high school into college? Or did it?

As the film progresses, it unfortunately only becomes more confusing. At first, it appears the stories of Melvin and Norton are occurring simultaneously as they live the life of a dork and all the suffering that comes with, and you keep expecting their lives to intersect at some point. But it’s not until nearly twenty-five minutes into the film, when director Weintraub inexplicably intercuts between day and night sequences that appear to be happening at the same time, that you finally realize the Melvin story is a flashback sequence (I think), something we were supposed to pick up on, apparently, because it’s shot in somewhat washed out color tones. And the only reason we pick up on this important bit of information is because, after Norton is kicked out of a party hosted by a girl he’s got a crush on, he heads home through a cemetery and – viola! – Melvin pops out of a grave and attacks Norton! But, wait – when did Melvin die? How did he die? And who knew the girl Norton has a crush on is actually Melvin’s sister? Huh? Wha–?

Sigh…

Sadly this film is a complete and utter mess. Zombie madness does eventually ensue, but it’s a grueling viewing experience to finally get there. Basic storytelling elements are nowhere to be found, as is anything remotely original, and it gives you a headache to try and figure out just what the hell is going on and when it’s going on. If this flick ever finds a distributor, save your money and watch paint dry instead – at least you know it’s going somewhere.

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0 out of 5

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