Review: The Foo Fighters make a horror movie
For anyone who found the band tensions that reverberate in “The Beatles: Get Back” too tame, the Foo Fighters have made a movie in which arguments over recording an album lead to a trail of dead bodies — and, no, this isn’t Yoko’s fault, either.
“Studio 666,” a horror-comedy starring the six members of the Foo Fighters as themselves, is one of the sillier concepts to reach the big screen in a while. That it even exists is part of the joke — maybe even the whole joke. While Dave Grohl and company were making their 10th album at a big, old house in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, they hit on the idea of a bloodier riff on “This Is Spinal Tap” that would parody not just themselves but any band that’s ever sequestered themselves in a colorful locale said to have good sound.
“Like Zeppelin, when Zeppelin went to the castle,” Grohl urges his bandmates in the film.
“Studio 666,” which opens in theaters Friday, was conceived as a lark, and that’s exactly how it comes off. It’s a goof, and there’s something to be said for watching Grohl and the gang having so much fun. In the version I saw, you can even catch them laughing once or twice. The charm of that can only go so far, of course. This is essentially a decent “SNL” sketch stretched to nearly two hours.
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But the Foo Fighters have in their three decades proved, if nothing else, the boundless possibilities of positivity and being regular, self-deprecating guys. Letting the good times roll has made the Foo Fighters — despite being decades removed from their biggest hits — one of rock’s biggest acts, hall of fame inductees and, now, movie stars. If anything, “Studio 666” is a testament to how bloody likable they are.
Bad vibes are the enemy in “Studio 666” — that, and a demonic force that dwells beneath the house and seizes Grohl, turning his monomaniacal desire for an “epic” album into a fevered, murderous obsession. Referencing Rush, he wants it to be “2112 times 2112.” He claims to discover a new note: L Sharp. A heavy metal thrasher stretches past 40 minutes in length.
Members of the band — Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear, Rami Jaffee, Chris Shiflett, Nate Mendel — are peeled away one by one, and director B.J. McDonnell makes sure any death is comically extreme. A few friends make cameos — Lionel Richie, Whitney Cummings and Will Forte as a delivery guy with a demo tape who tells the group they’re “like my second favorite band after Coldplay.”
It’s rare for any musical act to make a movie like this today — documentaries seem the preferred format these days — and rarer still for it to be a band that’s been around as long as the Foo Fighters have. But hopefully it starts a new trend among ’90s acts. Maybe a hairbrained heist movie with Pavement or a science-fiction thriller with Radiohead?
“Studio 666” an Open Road release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for strong bloody violence and gore, pervasive language, and sexual content. Running time: 108 minutes. Two stars out of four.
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP