RAVE PARTY MASSACRE
Director: Jason Winn
Year of release: 2017
Country of origin: USA
Running time: 76 minutes
DVD/Blu ray: DVD only as far as I know.
Taglines: "When the beat stops, the terror begins" and "The party to die for".
Also known as: Deadthirsty
Casting the spotlight on the slasher genre
Story: Set in a period of political unrest in America of 1992 the story here is based around a secret and unsanctioned rave which is being held in an abandoned hospital building soon to be demolished. The organisers behind the rave are known to distribute an ecstasy type drug at their events which drums up more interest among party minded youngsters. This drug is seen to be taken by a number of key figures we begin to follow as they enjoy the rave. These characters soon collapse however after taking the drug to wake up sometime later with the building now all but deserted and with the exits all locked or chained shut. Confusion quickly turns to outright panic for those stuck inside as they come to realise that they’re being stalked by a rat mask wearing, axe wielding psycho.
Edit: It's since been brought to my attention that the mask is actually a hyena and not a rat.
Good points: *I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for animal masks so the rat faced killer on display here ticks a box for me. The mask isn’t anything to write home about as it’s one of those which only covers the face with a strap around the back. They do however have the good sense to conceal the back of the head with a hood attached to the rest of the outfit (A Myers style boiler suit) so it still fairly effective. Edit: It's a hyena so I'm told and not a rat but either way it's still pretty cool looking.
The rat is random because as far as I could tell there is no reason for it other than there being a rat shown in a sketch during the opening credits. Possibly it has some connection with the political era at the time but I doubt it. Edit: Now I know it's a hyena maybe it does play into the political side of things a bit more as it could be seen as a way of laughing at the politics of the day/looking on them with scorn.
*RPM can be a stylish looking and even artistic film at times in the use of lighting and how it’s shot. The highlight is probably a creative and claustrophobic scene of a victim awakening from a drugged stupor to find herself trapped inside a morgue drawer.
Elsewhere the abandoned hospital building location is well decorated with political graffiti in addition to being nicely lit. One thing to note though is that while the building makes for a strong setting I didn’t think it really resembled a hospital all that much as with it being set for demolition it’s almost completely unfurnished. It could just be any old building really like a deserted office block etc. It still works well enough so I don’t want to knock it but just don’t go into it expecting another Halloween 2, X-Ray or See No Evil 2.
*There are two or three short moments where the blood related special effects look serviceable or even above average for what’s probably a pretty low budget film. The body count is too low ultimately and padded out with a couple of random corpses discovered but despite this at least there is some decent bloodshed for those few murders we do see on camera.
Bad Points: *It doesn’t feel as if there are enough characters included to create a workable story. What’s worse is that out of those who are featured they’re either too underdeveloped or just downright unlikeable. It left me feeling disconnected and I didn’t feel as if I knew much about any of them. With some of them being unlikeable anyway I wasn’t compelled to want to know more either which can never be a good thing.
*When watching the extras for the DVD I learned that the script was cobbled together very quickly in just a few days. I wasn’t at all surprised to hear this as it very much shows that not much time or thought has gone into it. It feels very rushed and more of an afterthought with the filmmakers maybe putting the visuals well ahead of the story. There are some minimal attempts to add a bit of backstory to the characters of Rachel and her boyfriend in the form of flashbacks. Even these though are choppy and disjointed and not informative enough. They don’t paint much of a picture and I actually found them more a source of confusion than anything else.
*Big spoiler: The ending isn’t very well thought out as it cuts jarringly from one key moment to another without explaining or showing on screen how things progressed from point A to point B. Rachel is tussling with the killer and seems to gain the upper hand after stabbing him in the leg. The next thing we know things jump forward in time to Rachel having been subdued and once again stuffed inside a morgue drawer. Surely it should have played out in the opposite manner with the killer stabbing or immobilising the girl to lead up to the drawer scene not the other way around?
Verdict: A classic case of style over substance this managed to mainly look the part but beneath the rat mask and neat setting there is little else going on. The trailer certainly flattered to deceive as there’s enough on show in that to spike my interest but after watching the full movie I was more bored than anything else. I thought there were too few characters with a poor script to go along with them sorely lacking in any meaningful character building dialogue. I know nothing of American politics so that didn’t help so if you’re the opposite and have a healthy knowledge of the political climate in 1992 then perhaps you’ll get more out of it. They don’t do anything to explain it to someone who isn’t familiar with it beforehand anyway which is surely a lazy oversight. Even taking the whole political angle out of it though the poor script hinders things so much that for me it quickly became tedious to sit through.
Bodycount (contains major spoilers):
1)Unknown man/raver: Found dead in stairwell.
2)Male raver (Rachel’s new love interest): Throat cut.
3)Clare: Hit in the chest area with axe.
4)Unknown man/raver #2: Found dead covered in blood.
5)Rachel’s partner/boyfriend: Stabbed by Rachel.
6)Rachel: Locked in morgue drawer and blown up in building demolition.
Review added on the 1st of July 2020.