STAGE FRIGHT (2014)
Directed by Jerome Sable
10 years after the brutal murder of their upcoming theatre star mother, Kylie Swanson (Minnie Driver), twins Camilla and Buddy are working in the kitchens at a stage school camp, run by their guardian, theatre producer Roger. After the collapse of what would have been a successful Broadway production, The Haunting of the Opera, due to the lead star’s horrible death, Roger’s career has been on the slide and now he resorts to teaching children and teenagers the way of song and dance. When Roger announces to the stage camp kids that they will be doing a production of The Haunting of the Opera, Camilla yearns to star in the part in which her mother so famously played. But with her mother’s killer still at large, could their lives be in danger?
I initially thought that Stage Fright was a remake of Michele Soavi’s 80’s cult film Stagefright Aqarius, and whilst the film does retain the skeleton of the story, this particular Stage Fright is an all together different beast and a scary one at that, but not in the good way.
If sickly American singing musical TV series Glee was to somehow mate with a ‘genre-aware’ slasher movie such as Scream, then Stage Fright would be the outcome. Bursting into song at every opportunity, the stage camp kids, who age from 6 year old to teenagers, are very over-the-top and tacky. This is where the supposed comedy element comes in as part of the film’s spoof element, along with the cringeworthy lyrics to match. As soon as the arrival at camp sees the kids singing on the bus and then onto the gardens, it made me want to reach for the sick bag. It’s hardly funny, just painful. With Meat Loaf starring as the man in charge, Roger, you’d expect he’d make them put a lid on it but he decides to join in with the sing and dance too.
Stage Fright features a mixed bag of performances, with more weaker performances than strong ones, although the script isn’t exactly meaty enough to flesh out characters. Minnie Driver and Meat Loaf do a decent job with their roles, whilst Allie MacDonald leads the film as Camilla Swanson, the girl cook who could be her mother’s successor on the stage… as long as the masked killer doesn’t rear his ugly head. Most of the other characters, besides a handful, are just background filler and fail to make a connection with the viewer due to their lack of identity or screen time. When scenes do occur that star these characters, it’s hard to feel affected because of this.
Stage Fright struggles to get a laugh out of the viewer, with only the Bukake joke making me sit up and choke (pun slightly intended). From a horror perspective, there is absolutely no tension whatsoever which ruins the kills, although the copious amount of blood and the attack on Minnie Driver is pretty impressive considering the film is a sickly-sweet OTT musical for the majority of the movie. However, this film doesn’t really work too well as a piece of spoof slasher entertainment and I find it frightening for all the wrong reasons. If this was the future of musicals, I’d be put off for life.