Studio 666 (2022)
Directed by: BJ McDonnell
Written by: Dave Grohl, Jeff Buhler, Rebecca Hughes
Starring: Chris Shiflett, Dave Grohl, Jeff Garlin, Jenna Ortega, Jimmi Simpson, Leslie Grossman, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Rami Jaffee, Taylor Hawkins, Whitney Cummings
STUDIO 666 (2022)
Directed by BJ McDonnell
For their tenth studio album, frontman Dave Grohl decides the Foo Fighters should record somewhere different and, with the help of their record label boss, discover the perfect property in Encino, California, in which to do it. Little do they know that, decades earlier, a rock band met their grisly end inside the house.
With Dave loving the acoustics of the property, they start to work on their new tracks. Unfortunately, however awesome the house’s sound may be, Dave feels uninspired by the licks he’s creating until he discovers a mysterious, unfinished record in the basement of the property, recorded by a band named Dream Widow. With renewed vigour and inspiration, he gets the band together to bash out the greatest song the world has yet to hear.
With the ever increasing running time of the song, Dave’s obsession with recording the music, no matter the time of day, causes his bandmates to grow concerned about his welfare, particularly his mental state. Feeling that something ain’t right and with bodies beginning to pile up on the property, they realise that they may have to pay for this new album with their lives.
Following in the footsteps of Kiss, who starred in their own film Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park, the Foo Fighters have decided to broaden their ever-increasing reach by hitting the screens of horror audiences across the globe with STUDIO 666.
Perhaps the movie is simply a vehicle for frontman Dave Grohl to pedal his heavier thrash metal sound in the form of Dream Widow, which he subsequently released as an album following the theatrical release of STUDIO 666. So, is the movie merely a promotional tool for the Foo Fighters, who are usually known for their middle-of-the-road mainstream rock, or is there some merit to the film?
Well, colour me surprised because I found STUDIO 666 quite an enjoyable slice of horror fun! From the offset, Grohl and the gang show they’re there to have fun and not take themselves too seriously, with the bandmates happy to joke and take the mick out each other. There’s a sprinkle of toilet humour and knob jokes amongst them, one of which really did make me chuckle out loud, but there’s also some good, genuine laughs provided in the form of how prima donna-ish bands can be. Slayer’s guitarist Kerry King makes an appearance as a roadie for the Foo Fighters who Grohl instructs to move the snare drum inch by inch, or centimetre in some cases, so that he can find the perfect spot to attain the right sound. It’s a tedious moment for King’s Krug, whilst Grohl hams it up as his alternate self who’s obsession over the perfect sound must be met with absolute precision.
Kerry King isn’t the only famous face you may notice in the film. Horror fans will be pleased to see the Master of Horror, John Carpenter, helping the Foos capture their sound as a recording engineer at the property. He has a few scenes and speaking parts as part of his minor role, but fortunately he’s well clear of the band by the time things really turn south.
Having the full Foo Fighters band as the core stars of the film was bound to have its hits and misses. Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins are two of the more relaxed stars, being no stranger to appearing as different roles in the Foo Fighters music videos in years gone by (Learn To Fly anyone?), whilst some of the other bandmates feel a little stiff and stilted, though it can’t be held too much against them. Keyboard player Rami Jaffee looks the most natural on screen and fooled me into thinking he was a legit comedic actor at times and bounces well off supporting actress Whitney Cummings who stars as interfering neighbour Samantha.
The film itself is quite bittersweet as sadly Foo’s drummer Taylor Hawkins passed away during its theatrical run. Although it’s hard not to feel some sort of sadness, Hawkins looks like he had a ball making the film and often provides a lot of humour in the scenes.
Watching the movie with my horror goggles on, I was surprised how gory STUDIO 666 could be at times. A fine example of this is during the opener when a female member of a band, played by Scream 2022’s Jenna Ortega, gets to see a hammer up-close. Though it weakens off during the middle, the violence ramps up in the latter third of the film with some pretty wicked scenes if blood and gore are your thing. Intertwined with the splatter is a neat little story that, whilst nothing new, is enough to keep even the mildest horror enthusiast interested which will surely be a blessing for Foo Fighters fans from all backgrounds.
STUDIO 666 surpassed my expectations for a movie revolving around a rock band and, whilst it’s likely one that will fade into memory, it has the charm and attitude to entertain.