Studio 666 Review: The Foo Fighters Star In Rarely Funny Horror Comedy

Coming into Studio 666 with high expectations is a mistake. Coming into it as a fan of Foo Fighters, however, is almost certainly how one may have heard about the film directed by BJ McDonnell (Hatchet III) from a screenplay by Jeff Buhler and Rebecca Hughes (based on a story by Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters' lead guitarist and singer). The supporting cast helps and hurts the group of non-actors, but it ultimately doesn’t make much of a difference. Horror-comedy is a good genre for the band as there isn't a lot of dramatic pressure, but the jokes that are funny in Studio 666 are rarely scripted. The horror is based in gore, but the editing slows down any chance of a good jump scare and, while it's clear The Foo Fighters are having fun, the viewer probably isn’t.

Studio 666 opens with a gruesome murder at an Encino mansion in the 1990s. In the present day, Foo Fighters are looking for a studio space that will inspire their tenth album. Their manager (Jeff Garlin) knowingly suggests the Encino mansion of lore. Once settled, the house beings to turn on the band and even their neighbor, played by Whitney Cummings (Whitney), warns them she senses an evil about the house. As the band gets warier, Dave gets more excited, finding the solution to his writer's block in the mansion's creepy basement. From that point on, it's a race to see if the band will make it out or if Dave will keep them inside.

Related: Studio 666 Trailer Cranks Up the Gore in Dave Grohl’s New Horror Movie

Jeff Garlin in Studio 666

Garlin (Curb Your Enthusiasm) opens and closes the film. Audiences will rejoice at the litany of dick jokes he fires in the second scene of the film. Garlin is a welcome presence as he is perhaps the only person in the film achieving anything worthwhile. But while he enters with a bang, his departure is lackluster and saddled with the weight of the plot. When Whitney Cummings appears, it feels like the promise of a comedic force meant to either shepherd the acting of the cast or, at the very least, have a reliable character to cut to deliver a solid joke. Unfortunately, Cummings does neither and, like Garlin, she is tasked with some of the most dramatic acting and ends up explaining the entire film in a totally forgettable scene.

Studio 666 is exactly what it looks like: A Foo Fighters horror-comedy. If one is a fan of the band, the film delivers a campy, screwball movie. If one is a fan of good acting, watching something else is more ideal. While the band is clearly aware of their shortcomings as actors, it does not do much to save their performances. Often, non-actors set themselves up to fail by choosing a script or genre that is too far outside of their wheelhouse. In the case of Studio 666, The Foo Fighters chose the right genre for their sensibilities and it is clear they are having fun. But when it comes to the jokes, they may be enjoying themselves a little too much. While the film is definitely funny, the acting is not the source of the comedy. Sadly, most jokes feel forced and the camera tends to linger on the face of whoever is telling it, as if to beg the audience to laugh.

Dave Grohl in Studio 666

The comedy also has a way of feeling very predictable. If there is a scene with the whole band, it's a guarantee they will all get a one-shot and a joke. It’s not as if that formula would work in a film led by great actors or great comedians. The issue is that, by its very nature, Studio 666 feels like a Foo Fighters pet project; moments of self-indulgence are a little harder to accept. Movies starring celebrity non-actors have a finite ceiling and this is by no means an example of the worst version for these kinds of movies. Unfortunately, Studio 666 also doesn’t have any of the tricks those movies implore to elevate the cinematic experience. It takes certain jokes and overuses them — puke can only be considered funny so many times. Even the gore gets repetitive as shots of Grohl eating human flesh seem to take up the last thirty minutes of screen time.

Regardless of how one feels about cheesy horror movies or The Foo Fighters, it's hard not to want to root for Studio 666. The film is caught between being self-aware and lost. The editing is what makes the movie feel longer than it is. Jeff Garlin steals a scene and Whitney Cummings sucks the life out of hers but their presence is nonetheless understandable. Studio 666 is not great but it is gross, at times funny, and essential viewing for Foo Fighters fans. But it isn’t as good as the video for Long Road To Ruin.

Next: Hellbender Review: Coming-Of-Age Occult Horror Is Shocking, Impressive Triumph

Studio 666 releases in theaters on February 25. The film is rated R for strong bloody violence, gore, pervasive language, and sexual content

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