The rock band Foo Fighters need to record a new album. It will be their 10th LP so it needs to be special and have a “weird vibe”. Meeting this challenge, their cantankerous label boss duly sends them off to a creepy recording studio that is steeped in murder, death and paranormal goings-on. -And guess what? Murder, death and paranormal goings-on ensue…
…Murder, death and paranormal goings-on ensue.
If anything Studio 666 isn’t a horror movie. It’s a horror-comedy with its tongue placed so far out of its cheek that it can wave down traffic. For sure, Foo Fighters fans will dig it but possibly not many others.
Plot-wise, there were a bunch of hideous murders and that evil has never gone away from the studio. So when Dave Grohl and the band turn up, that darkness is present in nearly every frame. Skipping through all the honking horror tropes that are duly hammered aloud, Dave is the one who is most susceptible to its charms. Suffering from writer’s block he is consumed by the studio’s spirit and descends into a The Shining‘s Jack Nicholson complete with the red n’ black lumberjack shirt. You see, there is an incomplete song that the studio needs to be finished so that it can rain down evil for eternity and the Foo Fighters, together with Dave’s increasingly wigged out behaviour, are the band to do it.
And… what ensues is what you expect. There’s gross-out humour aplenty with occasional Spinal Tap-like jokes but where the Pearl Jam high fives really fall flat is in its homage payments. Drowning in The Exorcist and other references – and even with John Carpenter on the mixing decks – Studio 666 is never scary enough to be gross, nor funny enough to be ironic.
Sadly, with the ladles of blood and gore applied so thickly, there just aren’t that many surprises to be found. As a pizza n’ beer movie, it might work but in the cold light of day, many of the gags quickly turn to ash. The AC/DC reference in the finale is beautifully disguised on its arrival and there’s one killer cameo that will make you seriously chuckle but be afraid. Be very afraid. That’s because, in any movie where’s there’s a book of dead human skin, there’s always a naffer sequel not far behind it.