studio 666 | bj mcdonnell | jeff buhler | rebecca hughes | dave grohl | taylor hawkins | nate mendel | comedy | music | united states | curse | possession | possessed | ritual | cult | whitney cummings | will forte | jeff garlin | jenna ortega | leslie grossman | john carpenter
Film: Studio 666
Director: BJ McDonnell
Writers: Jeff Buhler and Rebecca Hughes
Starring: Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins and Nate Mendel
This is a movie that intrigued me when I heard it was coming out. I read it was filmed in secret during the pandemic and having watched this, it makes a lot of sense. We have a limited cast and it takes place at house so it works. I’ve heard mostly positive things ahead of seeing it as well. The synopsis is legendary rock band Foo Fights move into an Encino mansion steeped in grisly rock and roll history to record their much-anticipated 10th album.
We start back in the 90’s. We’re at the house from the synopsis. We see Skye Willow (Jenna Ortega) fleeing from someone. She is killed before she can get away. We then get the opening credits that fill in a bit more backstory. It also gives us images of Satanic icons and symbols.
The movie then shifts into the present. The Foo Fighters are in a meeting with their manager, Jeremy Shill (Jeff Garlin). He wants their next album, but they’re in a bit of a funk. Dave Grohl (playing himself) says that he has the ideas, but he needs the right place for them to come out. Jeremy knows what he’s looking for. He calls up Barb Weems (Leslie Grossman) to get it set up.
She then shows the band to the place we saw in the beginning. Being that she is a realtor, she doesn’t reveal the full truth about its history. Dave isn’t sold, until he gets to a living room with the right acoustics. He agrees to take the place. The plan is for them to live there for a month at the most. Knock out this new album and then go back to their lives. Tragedy strikes though when they’re moving in. It leaves their roadie, Krug (Kerry King), dead.
Dave convinces them to stick it out though. They start to record, but weird things happen. He notices an odd caretaker, played by Marti Matulis. There is also a nosey neighbor of Samantha (Whitney Cummings). Things take a dark turn though when Dave discovers a room in the basement with a dead raccoon on the wall. He turns on an old system down there and he is possessed. This does break his block on making new music, but it also leads to murder.
That is where I’m going to leave my recap of the movie. There isn’t a lot to the story and I think my longer recap fleshes it out to give you a better idea of what we’re getting here. Right before the movie, I had a friend on social media tell me that this feels like blending The Evil Dead with Deathgasm. Having now seen this, that is a solid comparison. This isn’t as good as either of them though.
Where I will start though is the main concept. I love that during the pandemic, we take a band like the Foo Fighters, put them in a house where they’re going to record a new album. Having a supernatural entity trying to possess and pick them off is fun as well. I’m behind this idea for sure. Why it works is that rock music and Satan go hand in hand. Whether is the idea of playing records backwards or just overly religious people believing that this type of music is from the devil, I think it works. The two movies that I referenced are here as well. There is a book that is like the Necronomicon. It is supposed to be bound in human flesh and contain rites to summon demons. We’re also getting a song like Deathgasm that does similar things as well. It is a good touch.
Going along with this, I like the backstory of the movie itself. There are houses like this everywhere with urban legends. Being that this is in Los Angeles, we get ones with famous lore behind it. I like that the movie incorporates what happened to this other band in this house and it seems to be affecting ours in the present. They do well in revealing that story through Samantha, but I personally could have done with more. This movie loses its way for me. It runs over 100 minutes and we get a lull before it finally gets crazy. What we focus on with the band isn’t as interesting. Part it is that I could have used to see more of Ortega here as well.
Speaking of the acting, which is where I’ll go next. I should start with our stars, which are the Foo Fighters. They’re all fine. They are playing themselves and what I will say, I can feel that they’ve been friends for years. It would be difficult to build the camaraderie that we have here, especially since most of the movie is taking place in this house. What I will say though, they aren’t great and some of the acting is wooden. They’re musicians so I get it. Going along with them we have Cummings who was fine in her role as the annoying neighbor. Will Forte plays a delivery driver that is funny. Garlin is solid as the manager and Grossman as the real estate agent. I liked the cameos by King, Matulis, Ortega and Jason Trost. There is another one that is a legend, but I don’t want to spoil it if you plan to see this.
Then the last things to into would be the effects, cinematography and the soundtrack. For the former, I was surprised with what we got. There is blood and vomit that looked real. We get some solid looking deaths. It feels like they went practical where they could and we get some CGI. I didn’t have many problems there though. There were a couple of times I could tell, but not enough to ruin this. How this was shot was solid as well. No issues there. We get some good editing for things from the past into things we are seeing in the present. Other than that, the soundtrack was good. If it wasn’t, especially with who is starring in this, it would be a problem. What we got fit.
In conclusion here, this is a fun movie. We are getting elements we’ve seen before and doing something a bit different with them. This movie is focusing on interesting lore and seeing this band that has known each other for years interacting around it. The effects are good and how this is shot is as well. The soundtrack was also on point with setting the atmosphere this needed. There are references that went over my head as I’m not the biggest fan of the Foo Fighters, so keep that in mind if you are. Their acting isn’t great, but it doesn’t ruin the movie. I do think this loses it way though and takes a bit too long to get going. I wanted more backstory or to trim some of what we got to tighten this up. Regardless though, I enjoyed my time. I’d say this is above average. It is lacking elements for me to go higher though. I would still recommend this movie as I liked what they were doing for the most part.
My Rating: 7 out of 10