Legendary rock band Foo Fighters move into an Encino mansion steeped in grisly rock and roll history to record their much anticipated 10th album. Once in the house, Dave Grohl finds himself grappling with supernatural forces that threaten both the completion of the album and the lives of the band.
As actors, even playing fictionalized versions of themselves, the Foo Fighters are terrific musicians. Fans of the band needn't worry though; based on the evidence of Studio 666, the Foos won’t be quitting their day jobs any time soon. This movie appears to be shooting for the same cult classic status as Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park, but I think it’s more likely to inspire suicide cults than anything else – I know I would gouge my eyes out and then bleed to death rather than watch it again. It’s a shame, because Studio 666 had the chance and the potential to be more This is Spinal Tap than Phantom of the Park. Spinal Tap is a comedy about a rock band on the road; Studio 666 could have given us the making-of-the-album version of the story – and, like the proverbial broken clock, it's spot-on a couple of times (the moment where Dave Grohl “finds” a new, previously unknown musical note which he calls “L sharp” is in a way reminiscent of Nigel Tufnel’s “D minor is really the saddest of all keys”), but these occasions are so few and far between as to make the experience even more frustrating. It is possible to make an intelligent, funny movie about the recording process; 2014’s Frank is a great example, especially because that film, as eclectic as it is, doesn’t feel the need to experiment beyond its area of expertise. Contrastingly, Studio 666 has a streak of cheesy horror running through it that is as out of place in a Foo Fighters movie as a song from Grohl’s heavy metal side project Probot would be in a Foo Fighters album. I mean, we like the Foos the same way we like Eminem – but then, we wouldn’t like Eminem as much if 8 Mile had been a supernatural slasher instead of a semi-autobiographical drama. I’m not saying, though, that Studio 666 should have been a drama, only that it would have behooved it, even as a comedy, to be more veridical. Grohl’s rockstar outbursts would be a lot funnier if they stemmed from his overzealous quest to make a perfect record, as opposed to his being possessed by an evil spirit or whatever; it’s almost as if he’s so afraid of damaging his good-guy image that he has to justify playing against it with a case of ‘the devil made me do it.’