Sherilynn Fenn, Blaise Miller, Todd Berger
Written and directed by Todd Berger
Monterey Video 2011
One of the differences between a good indie movie and just another indie movie is the director’s ability to resist filming what sounds like a good idea but is not. The Scenesters is just another indie movie. Another almost sure sign of trouble is when the writer, director, and actor are one and the same, in this case Todd Berger. The Scenesters does not know if it wants to be a courtroom docudrama, a film noir, a mystery, or a low budget comedy. Neither does the viewer. The film noir parts work, the rest does not.
The premise of this indie movie is Charlie gets a job cleaning up crime scenes. His buddies Roger and Wallace who run a video company decide to improvise themselves crime scene videographers. At their third gig Charlie puts two and two together and figures out a serial killer is going after blondes who follow the local music scene. Hence the double entendre in The Scenesters.
Roger and Wallace convince Charlie not to go to the cops and instead allow them to make a documentary about his solving the crime. This gives the few film noir moments of the movie. The story is sort of told sort of through sort of flashbacks prompted by a prosecutor (Sherilynn Fenn, who probably did The Scenesters as part of a community service gig) asking the various characters questions on the stand.
The Scenesters not knowing what it wants to be is but part of its problems (writer director Todd Berger also throws in a music video for some reason). The acting is flat, the characters hard to like, you have to believe a twenty-something can be a detective, the narrative thread is messy, and so on.
Fans of indie movies are willing to forgive a few things. When there are too many things to forgive you get stuff like The Scenesters