Lunatic. We all know what it means but did you ever stop and actually consider the word? Writer, director Joshua Nelson sure did when he came up with "Menopause." Anyone who loves a good old Troma film is sure to enjoy this horror/thriller hybrid. Blood is the name of the game, and by the end of this flick, plenty will have been spewed.
In the film, many women, pretty much every woman actually, begin to experience daydreams of murder as a total solar eclipse draws near. They also start to realize that they all seem to be "late" and fear being pregnant - all of them. As a matter of fact? Even all the pharmacies and such have sold zero ladies hygiene products (wink wink), and it all seems to coincide with this coming eclipse. Eventually, this daydream state turns into an all-out blood bath with the women of the movie murdering pretty much every man they can find. It must be a full moon, right? "Menopause" gleefully plays out the idea of a natural event inducing a rage within the women of the earth. A rage that can only be satisfied by killing any and all men they can find. It's a fun reversal of the genre that, by the end, becomes an all-out gorefest. Nelson has directed a body horror experience on par with much larger titles of the genre. Generally speaking? It was fun. Especially the final act.
I'll just come right out and say it. "Menopause" is a fun idea with an awesome third act. The leadup, however, doesn't bring with it quite as much glee. There are many "fade to black" style cuts that really interfere with the pacing of the film, and there are also a very large number of characters. So many, in fact, that it's tough to really focus on any of them. We have a good article on the usage of transitions here, but the sheer number of characters should have been addressed during pre-production. It felt as though Joshua Nelson simply wanted to include all his friends in the film - and made a part for them. The result is a narrative that is very dialog-heavy and a little hard to get into sometimes.
The other aspect worth mentioning is that none of the characters in the film were all that likable. From cliche to outright stupid, everyone seemed to be a bit of a dick. Well, most of them anyway. While this seems like a good idea on paper, it didn't translate well for me. Or perhaps it did - in the sense that I was rooting for almost every character to die, and when they did, it felt pretty awesome. Is that sick of me? Maybe that was the whole point all along - which would, in a way, make sense. When things finally get moving, "Menopause" is a blast to watch. I can't help but think of "Friday the 13th" when writing about this movie - because it's all about the kills, and the more you don't really like the character, the better the kill feels. Without a doubt, the entire movie is worth it once the killing begins and the way it all ends? I'll admit it, I kind of smiled.
Don't step into this film expecting something that will tug at your emotions or make you begin thinking deep thoughts. Nelson and his troupe make no claims of enlightenment or a higher state of consciousness. "Menopause" is a B-Movie slasher through and through, and for that, I loved it. Sure. A few fewer characters and more of a "show me don't tell me" atmosphere would have made the "getting to know you" phase of the film a little tighter, but really? Who cares. You know why you're here, and in that respect, this film delivers—three out of five stars.