REVIEW: ‘Studio 666’ Pays Homage to Horror Creators That Came Before
What do Dave Grohl, demons and one EPIC metal song have in common? If you said Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny, well… you’re right… BUT, what else do they have in common? The new BJ McDonnell film, Studio 666.
Sam Raimi, Lloyd Kaufman, Tom Savini… none of these movie legends have anything to do with the horror-comedy, Studio 666, but their influence is felt throughout the film. Raimi for its humor, Kaufman for its lower budget execution and use of unseasoned actors, and Savini for its outstanding makeup effects and kills.
“Legendary rock band Foo Fighters move into an Encino mansion steeped in grisly rock and roll history to record their much anticipated 10th album. Once in the house, Dave Grohl finds himself grappling with supernatural forces that threaten both the completion of the album and the lives of the band.” That’s the synopsis for the new horror comedy staring the band, The Foo Fighters.
The film is a love story to indie horror films like The Evil Dead, Class of Nuke'em High, and Dawn of the Dead. It’s equal parts humor, camp and over the top blood and guts (Oh GOD... some of the kills in this movie are GREAT).
The musical score by horror legend John Carpenter is instantly recognizable and definitely raises the bar throughout the film... and for a cast comprised almost exclusively of non-actors (Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Rami Jaffee, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear), the film works quite well and is both fun and funny.
Now... its not all sunshine and roses. The movie is not nearly as funny as I hoped it would be and not all the jokes land (many of them are just low hanging fruit), but you can tell that the band was having fun making it and that inherent charm is a testament to the closeness of the group.
The story, by Dave Grohl, is basically what you saw in the trailer, "Band goes to house to record, singer gets possessed, murders ensue", but writers Jeff Buhler and Rebecca Hughes manage to weave a good 1h 46m film out of a very small concise horror tale.
If I had to nit pick just a little, the script by Buhler and Hughes could have perhaps used another pass or two. While the cast (again, mostly non-actors) does their best to deliver the dialog, some of it was just down right unbelievable and at times took me out of the film, if only for a moment.
Studio 666 is directed well and McDonnell certainly captures the creepy vibe of the house, but the real star of the show is Grohl as himself. It's abundantly clear that Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) has a natural talent for acting. He unintentionally upstages even the few seasoned actors on set (Whitney Cummings, Jeff Garlin, Will Forte, Leslie Grossman) and his performance comes across effortless and real.
So... what do we score the film? I have to be honest, is this a "great cinematic achievement"? No way in hell. Is it catered to an extremely niche audience? 100% yes. But the film is fun and the kills are fantastic.
So here's our score(s):
"A-" (for fans of the Foo Fighters)
"B" (for fans of comedy horror)
"C-" (for casual moviegoers and my mother)
So what do you think about this movie? Did you see it? Will you see it? Sound off in the comment section and let us know your thoughts.