Title: ‘Studio 666’

Director: BJ McDonnell (‘Hatchet III‘)

Starring: Foo Fighters, Whitney Cummings, Will Forte, Jenna Ortega and Jeff Garlin

Musicians can often times become so absorbed in the creation of their work that they don’t realize their consumption is not only affect all other elements of their lives, but also the existence of the people closest to them. That’s certainly the case for the members of the Grammy Award-winning rock band Foo Fighters in their new musical horror comedy, ‘Studio 666,’ particularly lead singer-guitarist, Dave Grohl. The frontman embarks on a murderous rampage and engages in his guilty pleasures as the group works on their latest album in a creepy rock & roll house that allows spiritual entities to cross over into our world.

Open Road Films is releasing ‘Studio 666‘ in theaters today, February 25. The movie was written by Jeff Buhler and Rebecca Hughes, and directed by BJ McDonnell.

‘Studio 666′ follows the Foo Fighters – Grohl, bassist Nate Mendell, guitarist Pat Smear, drummer Taylor Hawkins, lead guitarist Chris Shiflett and keyboardist Rami Jaffee – as they owe their 10th record to their label’s chief executive, Jeremy Shill (Jeff Garlin). The musicians are continuously reminded by Jeremy that they need to quickly deliver the album, which needs to be special.

So inspired by Led Zeppelin, who famously recorded an album in a castle, the Foo Fighters decide to rent a large estate in Encino, California, with a storied history in the music industry, which includes wild parties and a mass murder spree in the 1990s. Unbeknownst to the band, the house’s basement also holds remnants of possession by the occult.

Despite the change in scenery and concept idea for the record, Grohl is unable to overcome his writer’s block, as he can’t seem to create a riff that doesn’t plagiarize his own extensive back catalog. The songwriter is so distracted by his creative block that when one of their roadies gets electrocuted by the building’s faulty wiring and dies, he convinces the rest of the group to finish at least one song at the house in tribute to their colleague.

Soon after they move into the house, Grohl uncovers an unholy altar in the basement and the remnants of a recording session by the property’s ill-fated previous tenants. The singer-guitarist decides to take it upon himself to finish their magnum opus, a song that quickly transforms from its promising beginning into a never-ending concept album that features pagan images and, eventually, blood sacrifices.

The innovative horror comedy builds on the creative attitude and anarchic playfulness the band has long brought to their music videos. Through stellar humor that naturally riffs each of the group members’ personalities, ‘Studio 666′ is a masterful tribute to the Foo Fighters’ long-lasting musical collaboration and personal friendships. Whether they’re enthusiastically blaring out calls like “Pearl Jam High Five!” or mocking each other, such as when Jaffee embraces his New Age ideals that include listening to the vibes of inanimate objects, the band created a hilarious, inventive portrait that perfectly compliments their party vibe and sound.

In addition to the creative, unique infusion of the musicians’ humor, personalities and close relationships into the film’s overarching story, the feature also thrives on its exciting guitar and drumming solos as the group records its latest album. The band’s intense edge in their narrative storytelling in their songs is driven in part by the house’s excellent acoustics and its history of demonology and possession.

‘Studio 666′ not only thrives on the humor and ease between the members of the Foo Fighters and their riveting playing, but also its vibrant visual look. Cinematographers Michael Dallatore and Eric Leach masterfully brought the visual style that McDonnell and Grohl envisioned to the screen. The cinematographers perfectly captured intimate close-ups of the musicians as they reacted to the increasing tension and gore that’s taking place in the house, as well as sweeping wide shots that emphasize the unique special effects and makeup that accompany the gory stunt sequences that the musicians engage in as they fight for their lives.

The movie is an enthralling, captivating visual and auditory tribute to the Foo Fighters’ long-lasting musical collaboration and personal friendships. Through stellar humor that naturally riffs each of the musicians’ personalities, gripping guitar and drumming solos as the group records its latest album and gory stunts the instrumentalists perform as they protect themselves against Grohl’s increasingly grizzly murderous rampage, ‘Studio 666’ is a fun entry in the horror genre that even people who aren’t as familiar with the Foo Fighters will enjoy.

Technical: B+

Acting: B

Story: B+

Overall: B+

Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Taylor Hawkins, Chris Shiflett, and Rami Jaffee star in director BJ McDonnell’s musical horror comedy, ‘Studio 666.’
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By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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