This film held its world premiere at the Temecula Valley Film Festival, opposite my own film Foreign Correspondents, and because of its trendy subject matter it had a sizably larger (and younger) audience than my screening did. However, I won't let sour grapes sway my review.

As you might guess, Rave is about a rave. Well, sort of a rave. Actually, just a big party with electronic dance music at an old movie theatre in Hollywood (not a likely place for a rave, but what do I know?). At the beginning of the film we are introduced to all the characters, a multiethnic crowd of disaffected LA youth who will wind up at the titular event later that night. At this point the film seems like it's going to be awful (sample dialogue: "DJ Moby will be there." "Moby? Like Moby Dick? I got one of those."), but thankfully the story settles into place soon enough and we cut back and forth between our little ravers with ease.

Throughout the film, we are also treated to numerous shot-on-video "interviews" with the characters. The cast fares well in these interviews, which feel improvised, but there's a few too many of them. I got the feeling that they might have been shot later, then cut in to explain some plot holes and murky character motivation.

In any event, the rave begins, and everybody has a great time until a bad vibe arrives in the form of strong drugs and a couple of Chicano gangbangers who'd rather bust heads than dance. A tragedy telegraphed in the first 15 minutes of the film then ensues.

Young independent film faces like Douglas Spain and Aimee Graham stand out in a fairly good cast, but they're all trapped in an over-boiled melodrama, with a story that doesn't know whether it loves raves or wants to point a moralistic finger at the dimwitted young hedonists who frequent them. Nevertheless, I was happily surprised by the film's energy, and it does feel like an authentically bad trip.