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"STUDIO 666"
(2022) (The Foo Fighters) (R)


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QUICK TAKE:
Horror/Comedy: The Foo Fighters attempt to record their tenth album in a mansion that turns out to be haunted.
PLOT:

The Foo Fighters -- Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett, and Rami Jaffee (all appearing as themselves) -- are preparing to record their tenth album, but need a new place of inspiration. The head of their record label (JEFF GARLIN) knows of the perfect place and gets them into a large mansion in Encino, purposefully neglecting to inform them that a band tried to use that same place back in the 1990s, only to encounter supernatural-fueled murder.

They get there, and beyond having to deal with an overzealous neighbor, Samantha (WHITNEY CUMMINGS), they think it's the perfect place to write, rehearse and record their newest offering. But with Dave suffering from writer's block and then a serious case of demonic possession, it's unclear if the album will ever get done or who, if anyone, will make it out alive.

OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10

Many music fans have likely heard of guitarist Robert Johnson who supposedly went down to the crossroads of Mississippi to make a Faustian deal with the devil and traded the rights to his soul for his amazing musical abilities. While some of that likely stems from his still mysterious death at the age of 27, most probably is due to racism and the disbelief that a black man of the 1930s could possess such talent.

Then again, maybe he did make a deal with ol' Beelzebub. After all, many musicians have turned to outside sources to help make their music, be that in the form of drugs, muses, or what have you. Heck, some have even stayed in allegedly haunted places just to tap into the energy there. Or maybe it's just the great acoustics present at some of them.

That was reportedly the dual case with Led Zeppelin who rehearsed and recorded parts of several of their albums at Headley Grange in the 1970s. Built in 1795 and serving as a workhouse and shelter for the sick, poor, and insane, it's no doubt haunted or so Jimmy Page later declared. Whatever the case, the "magic" of the place apparently did its work, and other bands such as Genesis, Fleetwood Mac, Bad Company, and others similarly recorded there.

That's the backstory of the "we need to hunker down and feed off the energy of a place to record an album" storyline in "Studio 666," a horror-comedy featuring the real-life Foo Fighters. But rather than doing so at Headley Grange, their recording label head (Jeff Garlin) has them go to a mansion in Encino where bad things happened to another band back in the '90s (as seen in the bloody and gory prologue before the main plot kicks in).

Loosely based on the 2005 film of the same name, the pic will likely be a blast for diehards of those who fight foo or a visualized fantasy of sorts for those who'd like frontman Dave Grohl to pursue a solo career. For just like Jack Torrance at the Overlook Hotel, Dave gets through some writer's block issues with a little supernatural help and then decides everyone should die.

I'm guessing that's supposed to be a fun spin on Grohl's all-around good guy persona, although the icing on the cake would have been him - once possessed - dissing young music protégé Nandi Bushell who splashed onto the world stage after challenging the former Nirvana drummer to a drum duel. And if not for her age and innocence, her reply could have been akin to an "American Idol" judge who shows up in a hallucination and lets the F-bomb fly in Grohl's face for playing one of his songs in private.

Had writers Jeff Buhler & Rebecca Hughes and director BJ McDonnell continued in that vein, the film might have transcended into something truly clever and reached a wider audience - with word of mouth - than what the fighters of foo will bring along with them. And that might have helped overcome - or perhaps even play off - the, well, lack of refined thespian abilities of some of the band members as they act - or try to - in this 100+ minute offering.

Instead, we get a long-running joke - Grohl gets possessed and starts killing everyone in gruesome ways - that rather quickly becomes repetitive and wears out its welcome before the last band member bites the dust. And without enough great Foo music to help cover those inadequacies, the offering falls short in terms of overall entertainment, be that as an outrageous comedy or an effective horror flick. That is, at least without a trip down to those crossroads of old for some otherworldly "inspiration." "Studio 666" rates as a 4 out of 10.




Reviewed February 19, 2022 / Posted February 25, 2022


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