The Foo Fighters have a wide range of huge hits, including “Best of You,” “Everlong,” and “The Pretender,” but I can guarantee even their biggest fans have never seen them before quite like this. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees play themselves, as they hunt for a spot with “real rock and roll pedigree” to record their 10th album amongst mounting pressures. This may sound like the logline for a riveting music documentary; add in the byline that the location they select is also the home of the “House of Horrors Massacre” in which the entire band Dream Widow was brutally slaughtered back in 1993, and you have yourself an entirely different type of movie than one would expect. Hatchet III director BJ McDonnell injects the over-the-top horror pedigree needed to make an outlandish filmed-in-secret Foo Fighters slasher called Studio 666 into a memorable (if uneven) blast of a movie.
The Foo Fighters are in serious need of delivering a quality album, but what they need is proper inspiration. After a too-friendly real estate agent (played by Ryan Murphy universe alum Leslie Grossman) gives the band a tour of the grounds, Dave Grohl (himself) becomes convinced that “the sound of this house is the sound of album #10,” despite Dream Widow never finishing the album they also started here, on account of being dead. It doesn’t take long for the bodies to start piling up again, or for Dave to become possessed by an entity hell-bent on finishing a song that will open the hellmouth!
An exciting opening scene featuring in-demand actress Jenna Ortega (2022’s Scream, Babysitter: Killer Queen, the upcoming slasher X) nicely sets the stage for a bloodbath. Brutal kills with a hammer are just a taste of what the audience will receive later in the movie. Electrocution, beheadings, and an uber gory double-chainsaw kill are just a taste of the nastiness. The filmmakers opted to use a mixture of CGI and practical effects, though in this case, it serves to place even further emphasis on the CGI when it does appear. However, I cannot poke a single hole in the movie when it comes to any of the kills. Studio 666 thrives on the preposterous deaths, and all are varied and exciting to watch.
Demonic sounds, skinned raccoons, and lightbulbs filling up with blood are pretty much par for the course with haunted house or possession movies; Studio 666 takes this one step further by evolving into a cliched slasher movie, in addition to sharing that other DNA. The visuals may not be groundbreaking, but they are certainly serviceable, along with the acting performances. The crew behind the action was laughing their asses off while making it, a facet that bleeds through into the carnage we see on screen.
I would call myself a casual fan of the Foo Fighters at best, so there is a high chance that any band in-jokes were lost on me. Despite this caveat, Studio 666 always feels accessible to any viewer. The cast and crew channeled pandemic frustrations into a passionate and ridiculous horror film that will serve as a welcome distraction to genre afficionados. While I would hesitate to call it a truly good movie, Studio 666 nicely hits that sweet spot between campy trash and stupid fun.
Studio 666 makes the greatest sacrifice of all when it debuts in theaters on Friday, February 25th.