Not that long ago I reviewed Triaphilia, an anthology film from writer/director Joshua Nelson. And now I have his feature length war of the sexes horror comedy Menopause for review.
Menopause opens with a quote “While woman sheds the Blood of Life each moon at menstruation, man can only shed the blood of death through warfare and killing,”. It’s credited to Katha Pollitt but, according to a post by her, she isn’t its author, she merely quoted it in a review of a book by the woman who did.
Menopause has a fairly large cast that includes several couples who range from happily married to bitterly divorced. We also meet the local women’s support group. Some of this is quite funny, like the braindead mistress who gets called a twat by her boyfriend’s ex. She has to look it up and still can’t figure out which meaning was meant. Other gags, like the timid woman who apologizes more than three Canadians combined are badly overdone.
The real problem though is that this takes up most of the movie. It’s not until around the fifty minute mark that the town is struck by a strange wave of pregnancies. That’s not something usually associated with menopause. Thankfully neither is the hostility and violence that explodes from the women at this point.
In Triaphilia Nelson showed a good sense of pacing for shorts, but he seems way off with a longer piece, not an uncommon problem for filmmakers switching between the two formats. It seems funny to complain about a film taking too much interest in developing its story, but that is what happens here.
Unlike a lot of films it isn’t just dialogue tossed in for padding, it actually does help develop the plot and characters. As a result Menopause feels like a relationship comedy with a horror twist abruptly tacked on. It’s reasonably funny, but not what I was looking forward to.
Given the film’s plot and poster I was expecting something along the lines of a gender switched version of The Taint with rage stricken women hunting down and killing men. And that ends up playing a rather small part in the film and I can see horror fans losing interest well before it happens. The script needed to at least get to the pregnancies sooner, even if the budget for a longer killing spree wasn’t there.
Once we get to the killings they’re mostly of the tossing some fake blood around. There’s nothing much in the way of gore or effects. And just as the film is never really scary, the killings don’t manage to shock either. In this case Menopause is more a crisis of identity than one of aging, the film can’t figure out what it wants to be.
Menopause is currently playing festivals such as MonsterFlix Awards this coming March.