Firstly, I’d just like to say thanks to Co-Writer/Director and Actor, Jose Mellinas for allowing me early access to an online screener of his 12 minute Horror/Thriller short, “Mermelada”. Mermelada is a Spanish made POV film (point of view) about a YouTube sensation by the name of Javitronicks (played by Mellinas himself). He’s tasked with interviewing a man named Eugenio (Albert Anguera whose also a Co-Writer) who claims to know sensitive information about the disappearance of a young woman. This marks just Jose’s second writing credit and it’s his directorial debut. The short was shot for a mere 100 euros. Lately I’ve been fortunate enough to have reviewed a bunch of really cool projects coming out of Spain and that’s how Jose got onto me, so a quick thanks to his fellow European filmmakers in Pablo Pastor and Sergio Morcillo for the networking.
I spent the first five or six minutes of Mellina’s short trying to establish where the story was coming from and going to and what it all might really be about. An introduction that sees Javi (for short) conducting one on one interviews with locals in the street, looking for their reactions to having seen a viral video of sorts. Cryptic reactions to a popular video that’s never directly shown to the viewer makes for quite an odd start but an interesting one all the same. Yes, Mermelada technically falls into the Horror genre but not in the conventional sense. A narrative that appears to be about a notorious blogger/expert in legends, takes a very different turn upon its climax. The audio levels are nice and clear and most of the footage is decently shot. Fans of the found footage approach know what to expect from but those who are new to it can rest easy because this one keeps everything fairly stable (movement wise). The acting was competent although the material didn’t call for any scene stealing moments. The last few minutes were the highlight and I didn’t see the particular revelation coming.
The most distracting thing on display here is the speed with which the subtitles are presented. I understand these guys talk at their own pace but seeing as though I don’t speak Spanish I have to pay close attention to the subtitles. Problem is that I’m trying to watch everything in the frame at the same time and that’s problematic. For reviewing purposes you’d benefit from at least a second viewing of Mermelada. Some of the editing is rather choppy and there’s one or two sequences that are so small they probably could have been cut. On top of that, some of the lighting inside Eugenio’s house is fairly inconsistent. The only plot hole I found was in the time-lapse regarding Eugenio’s dash into the basement and his sudden rise to the up stairs of the house. We see him go down the stairs, so if he was in the basement how did he get back up two levels so quickly? I hoped there’d be an additional scene showing what the original video was that sparked Javi’s investigation.
Mermelada is an interesting short that would fit the bill for something like the VHS franchise *see review* https://adamthemoviegod.com/vhs2-review/. I really wasn’t sure the direction this one was heading and I think in this case that’s both a good thing and a bad thing. The audio and camera work were good, as was the acting but it’s the specific angle taken in the climax that makes it worth a watch. The subtitles and dialogue comes at you like rapid fire and both the editing and lighting needed some work (keep in mind this was shot for less than $150 Australian Dollars). I think Jose missed an opportunity to let the audience in on part of the secret and the continuity issue surrounding Eugenio’s movements both let this one down a bit. In the end he’s still got a solid little film that should help you kill 12 minutes of your day, so keep an eye out for this one!
My rating for “Mermelada” is 5.5/10