When lovable nerd Jeffrey sets out to cure cancer, he accidently drinks a deadly chemical that turns him into a deranged killer, setting loose a bloody tale of revenge, murder, and downright lunacy.
Written By: Leopold Vincent Medley
Directed By: Leopold Vincent Medley
Films about chemical induced crazy are tough. A film about a student going crazy, while trying to find a cure for cancer for a class project, done by young teens are even tougher. The apparent inexperience of writer / director / star Leopold Vincent Medley is one of the many problems with "The Ballad Of Jeffrey". A movie that suffers greatly from it's inexperience and constant need to remind you it's trying to be funny. It's like being stuck in the head of a young adult who just has to start things off with a feature, before learning the basics. The film ultimately falls victim to the source material it's trying to manipulate. There's only so much intentionally hollow acting one can take before it becomes unfunny. Is "The Ballad Of Jeffrey" really that bad? No. It's not... up until you reach the 40 minute mark and the same ongoing joke just doesn't seem to stop. There is such a thing as "way to cheesy even though it was on purpose", and once you hit that mark there's no going back. For all it's good points the inexperience keeps shining through, but there is still some good here. Still some entertainment value. It just would have been so much better with a little more experience under the belt.
At it's core, this is about as independent as you can get. Entry level cameras and a lot of camera recorded audio make the bulk of "The Ballad Of Jeffrey", all edited together in a more-or-less decent way. A lot of the mistakes of a novice editor are present, but surprisingly, it didn't turn out that bad. Even the camera audio for the most part works in this production. It's the acting itself that becomes repetitive after a while. I can only assume the dialog is intentionally corny and staggered. Picture "Leave It To Beaver" style acting and add a downer. You have complete, robotic sounding dialog, with full spacing between each line. " Hello Fred ", wait 2-3 seconds " Hi Mark ", wait 2-3 seconds " How are you ", wait some more... you get the idea. Very hollow, very robotic. It's actually funny though, which I believe is the point. The problem comes when an hour later... it hasn't stopped. It's just not funny any more. Add in ridiculous effects and props such as cartoon muzzle flares and stuffed animals... played off as real... and you begin to see where I'm heading. Take all these problems and again, blend with inexperience, and you begin to see where " The Ballad Of Jeffrey " runs into problems.
When it's all said and done, this isn't a bad movie. I had no problem watching it all in one sitting. It's the later part where things begin to wear at you. If Leopold Vincent Medley trimmed this down to half hour it would have fared a lot better. We also have a lot of good here; some future stylistic techniques have been established that will make good films down the road. Leopold clearly has a gift for this. Now, he just needs to get the experience. The only way to do that is by doing! I did get a few laughs, and I did watch straight through. I've seen much worse films from directors with way more experience. Have a watch if you want to chuckle a little. And, let me add that I look forward to what Leopold has in store for the future, with the experience from this film behind him. I expect some great productions.
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