Fearful Symmetries

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20 April, 2010

WFF '10: The Scenesters



The Scenesters opens with a mock trailer for a film called Nothing But Everything which promises "Three people, two hours, one conversation" which, I presume, is meant to spoof mumblecore. As we find out, The Scenesters is out to parody another genre as well – the murder mystery. But it's not content with that and continues to poke fun at Hollywood and perhaps indie movie makers everywhere.

The director of the mock trailer is one Wallace Cotton who, along with his producer Roger Graham, is unable to find funding for their next movie. And so Cotton takes a job as a videographer for the Los Angeles Police Department. Bumbling from one crime scene to the next, Cotton befriends Charlie Newton who cleans up the blood and gore after the police are finished. Newton notices that a series of recent murders all have something in common: a CD at the scene by a band whose name pertains to the way the victims were murdered. Graham reckons him a genuine sleuth and convinces Cotton to shoot a movie about Newton tracking down the serial killer.

Along the way Newton meets an old flame named Jewell Wright who is now a TV reporter covering the murders. They strike up their relationship once again much to Graham's delight as he now has a beautiful woman in the story. Things get even crazier as the killer starts sending videos of his crimes to Graham and Cotton. Whoever he is, he knows what's happening and wants to join in on the fun.

What makes The Scenesters really interesting is how the story is told. A courtroom scene bookends the proceedings with Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey from Twin Peaks) as the prosecutor trying to get to the bottom of what happened. Both Graham and Cotton take turns on the stand. Then there's the movie within a movie at the core of The Scenesters. Following a crime scene cleaner turned gumshoe in an attempt to make a new Chinatown was really funny. Behind the scenes footage shot by two interns found on Craigslist as well as other bits such as a training video from the crime scene clean up company that employs Newton round out the bill in a way that would make Oliver Stone proud. The scenes where our filmmakers realize the killer is on to them were genuinely creepy and suspenseful.

Although the movie dragged a bit in the middle, the interesting style, an endless parade of parodies, and the humorous rapport between Cotton and Graham made for some great entertainment.

|| Palmer, 9:33 AM

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