An overworked mashup of Los Angeles noir tropes and sarcastic video-age references.

An overworked mashup of Los Angeles noir tropes and sarcastic video-age references, “The Scenesters” isn’t remotely as hip as it thinks. Writer-director Todd Berger layers his comic mystery about a video crew tracking a serial killer on the Los Angeles Eastside with more storytelling gimmicks than he can possibly handle, and after a lot of lame jokiness, the pic expects auds to take its denouement seriously. “Scenesters” could find a home at regional fests looking for undemanding low-budget comedies.

Winding back from a fateful find by Charlie (Blaise Miller), the action centers on a hapless vid crew with Charlie as actor, a director (Todd Berger) and obnoxious producer (Jeff Grace), all of whom are trying to parlay a videography gig with LAPD detectives into an actual movie. They soon stumble on evidence of a serial killer leaving clues linked to hip Eastside bands, and run into complications with TV news reporter Jewell (Suzanne May), Charlie’s former flame. Storytelling via the killer’s subsequent trial, with Sherilyn Fenn appearing as the prosecutor and director John Landis as the judge, strains the silliness past the breaking point.

The Scenesters


A Johnny Voodoo Prods. presentation in association with Vacationeer Prods. and Midwinter Studios. Produced by Kevin M. Brennan, Jeff Grace, Brett D. Thompson. Executive producers, Eric Sherman, Christopher R. Sabin. Directed, written by Todd Berger.


Camera (color/B&W, DV), Helena Wei; editor, Kyle Martin; music, Dan Houlbrook; production designer, Eve McCarney; costume designer, Summer Browning; sound (stereo), Sam Hamer; sound designer, supervising sound editor, Ted Hamer. Reviewed at Slamdance Film Festival (competing), Jan. 22, 2010. Running time: 96 MIN.


Narrator: Blaise Miller.
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