STUDIO 666 (2022)- Review – We Are Movie Geeks

This weekend’s big movie release might just remind you of a classic TV candy commercial: “Hey, you got rock ‘n’ roll in my horror!” “Well, you got horror in my rock ‘n’ roll!”. But the big question is whether they taste good together. Maybe it’s “delicious” or maybe it’s a big, gooey, noisy mess. It’s not like the two haven’t mixed in the past. Countless freak coolers have used pounding metal music in their soundtracks, while many “head-bangin'” bands have lifted images from several classic and modern terror films (I think versions of Freddy and Jason appeared, if not the real “things”) for their MTV video shorts. Now, this film takes it even further by featuring a hugely popular band and taking on the “forces of darkness”. Of course, the Monkees have been chased by clones of Frank, Wolfie and Drac in their 60s TV series, but nothing like it! Maybe it’s because they wisely chose not to record in STUDIO 666.

All the monster mayhem begins in this title space, actually a dull and once opulent Encino mansion, in 1993. We’re placed right at the end of heavy metal band Dream Widow’s slaughter as lead vocalist/drummer ( Jenna Ortega) struggles to survive. Jump into the world of modern music as label exec Jeremy Shill (Jeff Garlin), maybe that last name is a bit “on the nose,” implores Dave Grohl and his Foo Fighters (yes, the real ones guys who play themselves) to complete their big tenth album. Dave insists that the music is all in his head, but needs the right recording location for the right sound and… vibe. Aha, Jeremy and his passionate realtor Barb (Leslie Grossman) have just the perfect spot…you know where. After taking a quick tour of the place, Dave agrees (although the guys need a little more persuasion). Soon, the band’s road crew is setting up their gear while the guys pick out their rooms (they’ll stay there while recording). Then tragedy strikes their electrician (you can guess it) and the guys want to get away. Despite this, and overly friendly, overly talkative neighbor Samantha (Whitney Cummings) Dave convinces them to “hold on”. But things get even weirder when he sees a mysterious “guardian” lurking around with a pair of very sharp shears (no one else spots him). Then, later that night, strange noises lure David into the basement where smoky black figures with glowing red eyes and teeth surround him and… Well, maybe number ten could be the last job. by Foo Fighters. Or will he?

Perhaps after Lady Gaga’s dazzling turn in A STAR IS BORN, followed by her excellent work in HOUSE OF GUCCI (Oscar got it wrong), many might think the singers would be natural comedians. And with this movie… they’re going to rethink that. Grohl is probably the most natural actor of the bunch, though he often swallows his words, then jumps to the other extreme with distorted histrions to express his metamorphosis. It’s when he’s not maniacally shaking his head up and down for comedic effect, perhaps (Wayne, Garth and the gang did that best thirty years ago… yikes). The other band members stiffly recite their lines, roar like they’re a revamped cast of Little Rascals, or just offer a blank stare until they can drop an “F-bomb.” They might have thought adding comedic actors would “raise the bar,” but they just make us wish they were more prominent in a worthy storyline. Garlin tempers his usual affable exasperation with disconcerting aggression. Cummings is a welcome relief with his take on the wacko next door who likes to “spill the tea” while rocking his “Fatal/groupie” vibe. Grossman puts a nice spin on the straight-up super-realtor cliche. And SNL vet Will Forte laughs as a wannabe rock star food delivery man who really wants to hand over a demo CD with the “extra ranch.” Perhaps the most offbeat cast is that of Ortega almost redoing his big scene from a reboot of the horror franchise from last month.

So were the filmmakers hoping for some sort of romp similar to the Beatles follow-up feature HELP? Well, that’s not even KISS MEETS THE GHOST OF THE PARK. Horror movie vet (HATCHET III) BJ McDonnell attempts to straddle the line between show biz satire and a kind of greatest hits (like many musical acts) horror. Many diehard “gore-hounds” could almost check off a list of “tributes” in their decorated Fangoria clipboards: EVIL DEAD-check, HELLRAISER-check, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE-double check. They might have wanted it to be an affectionate parody/nod to 1980s VHS slasher “villains”, but it just gets repetitive and boring as the innards ooze and the body count increases. Yes, fans of the old Savini-esque latex gutting will appreciate how CGI helps sell some of the tricks and stunts, but it’s in the service of a plot that’s spinning its wheels to some seriously dumb denunciation (and that’s why). is based on a story by Dave himself). Add to that the goofy acting and you’ve got about an hour better listening to the band’s infectious rock anthems. And that’s fault 411 on STUDIO 666. Ditch the cameras and keep fighting Foo, fellers!!

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STUDIO 666 is now playing in theaters everywhere

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