Poor Norton is an intelligent college student who gets no respect from anyone. His classmates are constantly picking on him and making his life a living hell, his professor is always an asshole to him, his neighbor is rude to him, and the girl he has a crush on is dating a guy who treats him (as well as the object of his affection) like sh*t. Since he is a passive aggressive (and plain wimpy) guy he never stands up for himself until one night when he is bitten by a zombie who was once a bullied high school student named Melvin who died as a result of a cruel prank at the hands of some of his peers. Now Norton is about to get revenge on all of those who ever mistreated him.
I usually enjoy movies where some pathetic person who is picked on somehow finds a way to strike back at his/her tormentors. Some of my favorite movies that follow this formula are “Carrie,” “Jennifer,” “976-Evil,” and “Mirror, Mirror.” I was expecting “Melvin” to be similar to these movies (with a little wacky comedy thrown in for good measure), but to my dismay that wasn’t the case. Before I watched it everything I read about it led me to believe that it was going to be about Melvin coming back to life to exact his revenge on the people who bullied him, but that’s not exactly what happens. Melvin actually plays a very small role and Norton is the one who goes on a rampage against those who has wronged him. Why is it called “Melvin” and not “Norton” then? Your guess is as good as mine.
I think the main thing that I didn’t like about the movie was the fact that it kept switching back and fourth between Melvin and Norton for the first half. It as very confusing (not to mention a little irritating) and I didn’t even know that the scenes with Melvin were supposed to be flashbacks until about halfway into the movie. At times it is almost as if there are 2 different movies going on and even when the two characters finally do come together I just really didn’t care anymore. It’s a shame that I lost an interest in it early on because it had potential to be a fun little flick.
I really didn’t like any of the main characters and found Norton and Melvin to both be incredibly annoying. I had trouble finding sympathy for either one of them and actually found myself rooting for the bullies that tormented them for the majority of the movie. I thought that the bullies just had more personality and were better characters in general. I guess the only person that I did like other than the “bad guys” was Norton’s love interest (and Melvin’s sister), Wendy (Lilly Maher). I thought that she was just a great character and she owned every single scene that she was in.
“Melvin” tries to be a horror-comedy in the tradition of Troma and Speed Freak Productions films, but it fails at both attempts. It isn’t scary in the least and it is only mildly amusing (the only time I really laughed was when the bullies were getting tattoos). It tries too hard to be wacky and zany but instead it just comes off as silly. There aren’t that many laughs to be found here, and if you are looking for a film that does a good job of combining horror with comedy I suggest you check out “Midnight Skater,” “The Deep Dark Woods,” or any Troma movie instead of “Melvin.”
Not everything was bad about this movie and there were a few things I actually liked. I appreciated the fact that there was loads of gore and every death scene had gallons of fake blood and guts. I also liked the way that it was shot as it had a grainy look to it that gave it a cool drive-in movie feel to it. The ending was pretty cool too, and though I am sure a lot will dismiss it as cheesy I liked it and thought that it worked.
“Melvin” could’ve been a great movie. I’m not saying that it was terrible, but there are many things about it that could’ve been done differently that would’ve made it better than it turned out. Some people may love it but I just couldn’t get into it, and I didn’t think that even the cameo by Lloyd Kaufman helped. Maybe if I watched it again I would like it a little better but I have my doubts. Check it out if it sounds like something that you would be into, but I suggest you go into it with pretty low expectations.