Rave Party Massacre, directed by Jason Winn (The Fat Boy Chronicles, The Assault), is a slasher movie that takes us back to 1992 in an abandoned hospital where, after a sex and drug-filled rave party, five young adults (an already established troubled couple, their respective conquests of the night and a loner) find themselves trapped and chased by a masked killer.
While the story tries to take a political turn and become more meaningful than it is, it never actually manages to go beyond this very simplistic premise.
Rave Party Massacre is a conventional slasher, with its many clichés but also a few good surprises – notably an ending that managed to surprise me (although it would have greatly benefited from a better story and better characters).
The cast is split between decent actors leaning on good, and decent actors leaning on bad, but never achieving true moments of greatness nor falling into outrageously bad acting.
This isn’t helped by the writing of the characters; too thin and bland to make us care about any of them.
The few bits of background information thrown into the story, to deepen the meager characterization of its protagonists, don’t make much sense nor actually impact the unfolding events, leaving us more confused than intrigued.
The very short run time (1h 15mins) promised a tight and intense movie, but actually ends up elongating a story that would have probably worked better as a short movie.
The rave party, that takes around 10 minutes of the beginning of the film, is mainly a jumble of blurry tilted shots that become as repetitive as the electronic music set over it.
The feeling of hangover induced by the end of this sequence works well, but is shortly undercut by the over-present and gimmicky flickering lights of the then almost-empty hospital.
The redundancy then never ends, with the characters mainly running around in corridors and rooms that all look similar.
Although the direction is confident and the photography pretty good, with a few creative and memorable shots, the movie fails to establish a proper anxious atmosphere: the feeling of oppressive confinement we should experience alongside the characters never properly settles in because of the vastness of the location and its abundance of windows.
The death scenes lack originality as well, but although the special effects are cheap they are still effective and sparsely used anyway; the sound effects however, some of them surprisingly terrible, are what could take the viewer out of the movie during the most “juicy” scenes.
All in all, what Rave Party Massacre lacks is a good script. While the poor effects, location or actors can be excused by the small budget, it is really the writing that completely fails this film.
With better characters and a more focused and original narrative, Rave Party Massacre could have truly been a good movie. Unfortunately, it ended up being a sub par slasher movie with too little to offer.