16th Mar2020

‘Ravers’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Natasha Henstridge, Georgia Hirst, Olivier Richters, Eve Connolly, Manpreet Bambra, Maria Volk, Dave Johns, Danny Kirrane, Kamal Angelo Bolden, Orson Chaplin | Written by Luke Foster | Directed by Bernhard Pucher


Directed by Bernhard Pucher (Betsy and Leonard, Black Sand) and written by Luke Foster (Betsy and Leonard), Ravers follows an illegal night-time rave, in a factory where contaminated energy drinks caused a worker to go fatally berserk, that turns into a nightmare. As a forgotten batch of the drink is found and consumed by drunken ravers, a truly terrifying physical transformation takes over and those unaffected try to escape in panic. Becky, a germophobic journalist, reluctantly there to cover the event on the behest of her boss (a cameoing Natasha Henstridge), is trapped among the increasingly hostile crowd of dancers, and to save herself and her friends, she has to overcome her deepest phobias to help them get out alive.

First screened at Frightfest in 2018, its taken over 18 months for the film to finally be available to the masses – and I’m glad. It was one of the few films I missed at the festival that year and, honestly, I was intrigued to see what a British film, shot in Wales, about the UK rave scene yet filmed as an American production, complete with dodgy accents from the British cast, would actually play out like…

Turns out it’s not that bad. Yes the aforementioned predilection for forcing the cast the to try to speak with American accents is a tough jarring – especially when rave culture is very much a UK thing, and as a Brit watching you can’t help but think “why bother making this feel like a US film?” But then – as I’ve said in a number of reviews of British-lensed horror recently – the US market is where the audience is. US distributors are much more likely to pick up UK films and get them into places like Walmart and Target, where willing horror fans snap them up cheap. Here in the UK though? Well we’re still apparently obsessed with video nasties and Euro-horror that was previously heavily censored on these shores! That’s why boutique labels aren’t even taking chances on new genre product anymore, leaving it up to those with supermarket distribution to release new titles.

But I digress. Heavily. Back to Ravers… Which, to be fair, isn’t that high on plot. Ravers drink dodgy energy drink, turn into infected mutant “zombie-like” monsters (the film makes a very specific point that the infected are NOT zombies) and attack those not transformed. That’s it. Basic is as basic does. But it works. The plot, what little there is, is just enough to hang the terrifying tale on and we have a cast of characters that a broad spectrum of the audience can both empathise with and root for. Amongst the horror there are some laughs too – a mutant stopped in his tracks after being given a cigarette to smoke; still buying drugs from dealer Vince (Kamal Angelo Bolden), even in their infected state; the infected still raving away as they chase their prey then complaining when the music stops, so much so they become more deadly than when there’s no rave tunes playing! All good fun, and a great balance between funny and fearful, to be honest.

The disappointing aspect of Ravers however is the effects work; which is something of a mixed bag. The look of the infected – swollen eyes and dodgy skin – goes from wonderfully nuanced to looking applied to the actors with a shovel in the space of the same scene! Some of the extras look like they’re wearing eggshells for eyes! It’s a minor quibble yes, yet one that I found took me out of the film at times, staring at the make-up and wondering “why?” rather than paying attention to the story.

Ravers is not going to have anyone truly raving (groan!) about how amazing the film is; but with a fantastic story arc for its central character, germaphobe Becky (Georgia Hirst), and a great blend of horror and comedy, Ravers is definitely well-worth checking out. Especially in this present climate, a film about infected people couldn’t be more prescient, right?!

Blue Finch Film Releasing presents Ravers on Digital Download, today, 16th March.


Comments are closed.