You don't have to be a Silver Lake hipster or film-school student to get the references in this genre mash-up, a substanceless murder mystery set among the aspiring filmmakers and struggling musicians of northeastern Los Angeles. "The Scenesters" revels in winks about the city and the indie film biz, yet its surface-level blend of noir, vérité and "CSI" forensics is usually engaging.
Setting the tone of affectionate mockery is the faux trailer that opens the movie, a spot-on sendup of mumblecore navel gazing. The preview is for a film by Wallace Cotten, a self-serious young auteur who's well played by writer-director Todd Berger. Through his gig as a videographer for the LAPD, Wallace crosses paths with Charlie Newton (Blaise Miller), a singer-songwriter and crime-scene cleanup technician. Charlie, whom Miller invests with a low-key spark beyond the merely relatable, catches details the self-involved police investigators miss, signs that point to a serial killer.