Director: Bernhard Pucher
Starring: Georgia Hirst, Natasha Henstridge, Eve Connolly, Manpreet Bambra, Dave Johns, Orson Chaplin, Maria Volk, Danny Kirrane, Kamal Angelo Bolden
First thing midway through the five days of Frightfest whilst hungover the audience was treated to the at times deafening (but it works best that way I assume you) and always funny Ravers from Bernhard Pucher (Betsy and Leonard) which was only finished shortly before the festival. It’s a film that feels like a zombie film but where nobody is dead, well…mostly nobody is dead.
A germphobic journalist Becky (Georgia Hirst, Vikings) goes to an illegal rave in search of a story to wow her boss, taking her away from her safe, clean comfort-zone. The abandoned factory being used for the rave had recently closed due to a manufacturing incident which created a potent form of the brand’s energy drink Regenerize, causing extreme violence in its drinkers. When the organiser finds a stash of the unbeknownst to him contaminated batch and gives it away to the ravers within the building the dancefloor turns into mayhem with violent ravers mutating and murdering, leaving Becky to overcome her phobias to survive.
The story doesn’t get much deeper than this but it doesn’t really need to, this is the kind of popcorn action film that you need during the long summer and it’s a shame that it didn’t get a general cinematic release because it would give the goofy Festival a run for its money (Actually it would beat it stone cold – this is the party film you should be watching). There is some interesting development of the lead character Becky whose phobias affect her life to such a severe extent it’s more functioning than living in all honesty, the audience is most definitely on her side to not just survive but hopefully begin to push past everything that is holding her back.
Ravers is a light-hearted gore flick with a sci-fi edge, that is reminiscent of Roger Corman and Lloyd Kaufman’s output in terms of both substance and style on a non-Hollywood budget. They manage to avoid it looking cheap, though it is a bit of a jump to say the welsh locations could pass for anything else in my mind – but that’s easy to overlook as much of the film is inside the Regenerize factory and it really doesn’t matter. There’s some good SFX/make-up work here, starting subtly to denote the change in the ravers but ramping up as it progresses to the end where we get some Troma-style body horror that was totally unexpected and I loved immensely – very Toxie-esque for sure!
The stand-out star of the film is the wonderful Georgia Hirst as Becky, whom she plays in a thoroughly three-dimensional way where it would have been easy to just focus on the phobic element and roll with it. You can feel a yearning and loss in her performance that would come from being so disconnected with the world she finds so unsanitary, and sometimes says this and so much more with simply a look. It’s easy to feel empathy for her as she’s struggling, and that struggle has been going on for a very long time. The rest of the cast were very enjoyable throughout the film and bounced off one another in a frantic way that worked well for the situation, and though I was disappointed in the stereotypical choice for the drug dealer role it was acted well and given some nods to the issues between POC and the police.
This is a film that is quite simply a laugh, and rather reminiscent of the Max Rager story line from iZombie but taken to a far more extreme and bloody conclusion if you happened to have watched that (And if you didn’t you should, for goodness sake it’s some of the best genre TV out there right now but I digress). Accompanied by a pumping party soundtrack that even non-ravers can enjoy, Ravers doesn’t ask you to think too hard and instead invites you to sit back and let the mayhem wash over you whilst still caring about the lead character. It’s dark, it’s funny, and it’s a bright loud rush of anarchy that doesn’t take itself too seriously and instead focuses on the fun.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
A very Brit-feeling horror comedy to munch popcorn to, best watched loud!