Ravers get infected and robbers get ghosted. So which one of these two indie films showed me a better time?
Now this is how you do a tight little indie infected film. Ravers is smartly written and directed and deserves recognition for featuring a lesbian and a bearish guy as the heroes. On the flip side, at a rave full of white people, a Black guy is portrayed as the immoral drug dealer to the bitter end. Bummer.
Things start strong and sexy, with a 7′ 2″ tall muscle hunk going insane at a soda factory and attacking everyone with gory results. This scene literally made me want a Dr. Pepper and a man.
Then we meet our main girl, a germaphobic lesbian reporter forced to go on site to do a story about the factory murders. Her stocky buddy takes her to an illegal rave being thrown at the now defunct warehouse.
The drugs come out…and so do cases of old soda still tucked away in storage. Pretty soon the dance floor is filled with ravers with raging eyes.
The movie smartly uses techno that matches the moment as the pace picks up. The vibe starts off chill, becomes hypnotic as the ravers begin to feel the effect of the drug, and then intensifies in beats-per-minute as the drug takes hold and the infected become aggressive.
The concept is also cool. The infected don’t really attack as long as they’re getting some sort of stimulation: drugs, dancing, sex, etc. And the longer the infection inhabits their bodies, the more gnarly their eyes begin to look. Not to mention, there’s most definitely an understated commentary on toxic masculinity running throughout the film.
One of my favorite visual moments has the doped up club kids focusing on the allure of a catwalk above them, and deciding to climb up there to dance. The infected action ramps up as the crazies get even more fucked up in the face for the final act.
ARE WE DEAD YET (aka: The Living Dead) (2019)
In this horror comedy, a group of bumbling robbers screws up and then has to hide out in an old mansion.
Right away it feels like the actors are trying their best to deliver laughs, but they don’t often have the material to support their skills, so they overcompensate through their delivery and actions. Sometimes it works, other times it falls flat.
At first the robbers experience sightings of various ghosts, but before a genuine haunting plot can get off the ground, we are introduced to the ghosts, and things get silly.
There are at least a dozen ghosts from colonial times living in the mansion, all of them in the bloody state they were in when they died. They spend their time chatting and lamenting that they will be stuck in the mansion until someone finally buys it.
The dialogue of the dead and the conversations they have feel more like a play performance than a movie, but they do inject a little more humor that works.
In no way a scary film, this turns into a ghost adventure, with the robbers trying to help the ghosts escape the hold the mansion has on them. It’s…cute…but it didn’t work enough as a ghost comedy for me to truly hold my interest. On the bright side, there’s a zombie segment at the end that showed me a good time!
If you’re looking for the film, just know that it is under the title The Living Dead on Prime. Who the hell decided on that awful, generic name change?