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Review: Studio 666

If you call yourself a Foo Fighters fan, then you owe it to yourself to check out Studio 666, the goofy horror film they star in. With a mixture of fan service, gory kill scenes, and charm, the film will hit fans right where they want it. For everyone else, this is a so-so horror comedy with some decent effects.

The movie revels in just spending time with the band, and who wouldn't enjoy that as the Foos are one of the most likable rock bands ever. They, or at least Dave Grohl, clearly love scary movies, in particular, the rock n' roll horror films of the 1980s. They also love Doritos and Jameson. I mean seriously, there are a lot of Doritos on screen.

The plot is basic, the Foo Fighters are about to record a new album, their 10th, and they need a bit of inspiration. Grohl mentions Led Zeppelin recording in a castle as a reason to try something other than a studio setting to write and record the new album. They rent a large estate in Encino that has a violent history of rock and death. Grohl struggles at first to write new songs. He pulls out the riff from Everlong until the band tells him he already wrote it. When one of their roadies dies by electrocution, he convinces the band to stick around and dedicate the album to their fallen friend, or at least write one killer song there before moving out.

In search of inspiration, Grohl finds an altar with the remains of a sacrificed raccoon and the remnants of the previous band who lived there. Well, not remnants of the band but of the song they were working on before violently dying. Grohl decides he is going to finish the epic song. In a funny moment, Grohl explains the song is in the key of L Sharp, something he has just created. From there, Grohl becomes more possessed and the bandmates begin dying in some graphic ways.

To the film's credit, the kill scenes are gory and full-blown horror. A double chainsaw kill is particularly memorable. While these kills are fun, the movie never builds the lore around the house, the previous band, or the possession of Grohl. It never really aims to be scary. This is a good thing as it never asks the Foos to be anything they are not. Grohl is a charming personality and he leads the film competently. When the film is at its best, it is reminding you why the Foo Fighters made some of the best music videos ever and why they are as big as they are. But for every fun moment, like the band's "Pearl Jam High Five", there are several elements of the film that drag. The thin plot and lack of Foo Fighters music don't help the sometimes sluggish pace. We get too much of Grohl working on the song and not enough time with the whole band. One of the surprises here was keyboardist Rami Jaffee who really plays up his hippy qualities. Grohl is also very happy to make fun of himself. These moments will thrill any Foo fan out there.

Studio 666 is for the fans. I really feel like they missed an opportunity to write a few songs for the film or even include their music here. It honestly feels odd to spend over 100 minutes with this band and not hear their music. At least we get John and John Cody Carpenter doing the film's theme song. Sprinkled with some fun moments and good gore, Studio 666 is a fun time for about an hour and then the lack of story development kills the final act.

3/5 if you are a Foo Fighters fan, 2/5 if you are not.


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