'Studio 666' review: Foo Fighters try surviving recording session from hell in lame horror comedy
Courtesy of Open Road Films
Produced and conceived by Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl with the help of his bandmates, “Studio 666” exists, it seems, to keep the group busy in between tours or actual recording sessions. There’s no telling what inspired Grohl to test his cinematic chops with this bloody, grotesque and painfully unfunny movie, but “Studio 666” doesn’t have the punch or sustaining flavor to outlast a group of talented musicians who can’t sell the material. Perhaps that’s part of the allure: hey look at this band we really like trying to “act.” Foo Fighter fans might chuckle (some of the outlandish death sequences, outfitted with practical effects, are impressive) yet it’ll be a challenge for anyone else to see past the cheap shenanigans and even cheaper screenplay. At least the score, co-composed by horror maestro John Carpenter, has some rhythm.
In “Studio 666,” the Foo Fighters (Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear, Rami Jaffee and Chris Shiflett) are struggling to write their next big studio album. And since writer’s block doesn’t sit well with the recording label head (played with a smarmy attitude by Jeff Garlin), they are sent to a recluse mansion, that has an association with mega popular rock bands, in the hopes of sparking creative juices. The pad was last inhabited by a band called Dreamwidow which at some point or another was pegged to be the next Jane’s Addiction. It’s not long before Grohl begins poking around the basement and exploring corridors he probably shouldn’t and becomes possessed by what lurks in the shadows. As things get crazier and more demonic, Grohl begins churning out a hit song much to the amazement of his squad with the possibility of producing a triple album.
The cast is rounded out with people you’ll recognize: Will Forte shows up as a pesky delivery man who tries peddling his demo; Whitney Cummings plays the horny next-door neighbor, and Jenna Ortega (from “Scream”) has a blink and you’ll miss it cameo, but none create much friction. Instead, “Studio 666” relies on the Foo Fighters brand of comedy and slapstick. Except, they’re not the “Impractical Jokers” and each line of dialogue feels like director BJ McDonnell is funneling it to them. There’s no sense of timing, situational awareness, or genuine discovery.
Grohl seems the most at ease unlike his co-stars who look afraid to be in front of the camera and the D-level visual effects only add insult to injury. It’s not unusual for musicians or television personalities to mess around with vanity projects and baked inside “Studio 666” is a tribute to the fans who got the Foo Fighters to where they are today. Sadly, it ends up becoming a haunted house clunker where things don’t get bump in the night, but keel over from sheer stupidity.
STUDIO 666 opens in theaters Friday February 25th.