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The Independent Critic

Nancy Hornback, Matthew McCurdy, Regina Samson, Kelly Terrell, John W. McKelvey, Aaron Gartenberg
John W. McKelvey
NR (Equiv. to "PG")
107 Mins.
Tomorrow Wendy Productions

 "A Meteorite for the Mantlepiece" Review 
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Experimental is a great word to describe A Meteorite for the Mantlepiece, a full length ultra-indie feature from writer/director John W. McKelvey about Nancy (Regina Samson), a single mother who comes home one day to discover astronauts Wendy (Nancy Hornback) and Jeff (Kelly Terrell) living in her son's bedroom.

Part musical, part science experiment (Really!) and part Jersey exploration, A Meteorite for the Mantlepiece is a quirky and unusual production that may not work for mainstream cinematic audiences but should find a home on the underground and microcinema festival circuit.

This may sound like an insult, but in all honesty it's a compliment. A Meteorite for the Mantlepiece gives off such an eclectic vibe that at times it feels like it should be found in the Troma catalogue and at other times it plays out like a better version of Evil Alien Conquerors. There's a B-movie trying to get out of A Meteorite for the Mantlepiece, directed by McKelvey in such a way that we know for sure he's aware of how silly everything is that's going on.

There's an abundance of music present in the film ranging from New Jersey punk band Dread Fabrik to Canadian hip-hop group Park-Like Setting and polyrhythmic pop duo Funk Thunder provides the film's title theme. While the music may not be to everyone's taste, it fits the film's off-kilter and edgy vibe quite nicely.

Regina Samson portrays Nancy with a sense of absurd normalcy that causes everything that goes on around her to become that much more silly as the story transpires. Nancy Hornback and Kelly Terrell shine as the two otherworldly astronauts, at times giving off an SNL vibe that never becomes tiresome. Young Aaron Gartenberg makes a nice debut as Nancy's son, seemingly unflappable and unphased by everything around him.

A Meteorite for the Mantlepiece definitely stretches the limits of what can be accomplished on a really low budget, a stretch that doesn't always  pay off with its production values. Given what McKelvey showed he could do with his debut, the short film Lunch Break, Richard Sheehan's camera work and the film's sound mix could benefit from some additional editing and tweaking as the film hits the festival circuit.

A Meteorite for the Mantlepiece wins bonus points for a low-budget yet inventive way of marketing itself, with DVD viewers encouraged to join along with included science experiments and multiple opportunities to sing along and really enjoy the music.

For more information on A Meteorite for the Mantlepiece, visit the Tomorrow Wendy website for the film.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic