A drug-filled night of raging, drinking and sex at an abandoned hospital rave turns into a nightmare for a group of teens as they must race against the clock to survive and also avoid being trapped in the soon to be demolished building. The title Rave Party Massacre might lead one to believe that this could quite possibly be one of the most interesting and innovative horror slashers of recent memory. However, viewers will unfortunately find with a fantastic idea that was sadly poorly executed.
It’s 1992 and Bill Clinton has just been elected President of the United States of America. In the wake of his appointment, conspiracy theorists and protestors are at the forefront of the American media. To get away from all of these real world troubles, young people like Rachel (Sara Bess) attend illegal raves to forget about real life for the night. Rachel attends our centrepiece party with boyfriend Branson (Jared Sullivan) whose relationship is on the rocks (due to countless flashbacks that are presented within the opening act of the film). The setup to the story is promising enough to begin with, until unfortunately the lack of budget rears its ugly head and quickly dashes those hopes of something great.
This isn’t to say that there is nothing good to be gained from watching this slasher flick, as our leading lady Rachel is portrayed admirably by Sara Bess. It’s her performance that certainly holds it together for the 76 minute runtime. Two of the biggest problems with Rave Party Massacre are the sound design and editing. Firstly, the sound is incredibly poor. During our opening rave sequence (which takes up a lot of the runtime and includes narration of real life clips of President Clinton delivering a speech) when the characters are attempting to converse in a noisy environment, it's normal for them to shout. However, the way it's edited, you can clearly tell that the room was silent during filming and the actors were instructed to shout so that some music could be overlaid during post-production. Not only that, but throughout the film, it can be extremely difficult to understand the dialogue due to multiple instances of echoing around the hospital's corridors and other distracting sounds coming from around the performers.
Now on to the editing. At several points, you might find yourself questioning if you had just blinked and missed something, as the editing is exceedingly shoddy and choppy leaving the audience in a dazed and confused state which sucks them out of the narrative.
Not all is bad however, as some of the establishing and long distance shots down the twisting and dimly-lit corridors with our antagonists lurking around the corners are executed rather well. The use of drugs and alcohol to induce a nightmarish scenario at a party is not an original concept, but one that could’ve been used to better effect towards the climax of the film where two characters who are meant to be antagonising each other just relay exposition which is plain lazy.
With all that being said, Rave Party Massacre (or Deadthirsty as it is also known in relation to the drug that the partygoers are indulging in) has a lot of great ideas that are let down by the overambitious nature that director Jason Winn decided to take it, with a lot of the film feeling like the story was built more around the fact that an abandoned hospital was available to film in.
RAVE PARTY MASSACRE / CERT: UNRATED / DIRECTOR: JASON WINN / SCREENPLAY: JONATHAN W. HICKMAN, MAGGIE D. HICKMAN / STARRING: SARA BESS, EVAN TAYLOR WILLIAMS, MELISSA KUNNAP / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW