This Is the End asked, “How would a group of celebrities react in an apocalyptic environment?” Studio 666 asks a similar question, but with a few tweaks. Instead of the apocalypse, it’s a haunted house. Instead of the Frat Pack playing themselves, it’s the Foo Fighters playing themselves. Frontman Dave Grohl came up with the story for Studio 666, which shows in the final product. This is primarily a showcase for Grohl with his fellow Foo Fighters getting lost in the shuffle. This prevents Foo Fighters from reaching the same heights as This Is the End, which was a genuine ensemble piece. Grohl’s demented baby delivers enough chuckles and creative kills to stand on its own, however.
In reality, the Foo Fighters came out with their tenth album earlier this month. In Studio 666, they’re struggling from a severe case of writer’s block. I’m not exaggerating when I say “severe,” as it isn’t long until bodies start piling up because of it. To finish the album, their manager (Jeff Garlin) arranges for them to work at an old house with a mysterious past. Even after someone dies, Grohl still likes the house’s vibes and insists on staying. This setup will sound familiar to anyone who’s seen a horror picture before. Apparently, the Foo Fighters haven’t, as they never reference any scary movies. We got enough of that in Scream anyway.
Although Studio 666 isn’t the most meta horror movie, it does have its laughs. Maybe not as many laughs as one would hope, especially given its unconventional stars. It feels like Grohl’s goal was to make a legitimate horror film rather than a horror satire. At the same time, there is a lot of humor to be found in the gore, especially during the second half. The buildup is admittedly slow as we wait for Studio 666 to get to the good stuff. When open season is finally declared on the band, though, director B. J. McDonnell delivers the over-the-top violence that we crave.
Grohl is having a ball as an egotistical rock star who succumbs to the house’s dark nature. While the other Foo Fighters look like they’re having a good time, they’re not given as much material to work with. This Is the End had fun with every celebrity, portraying James Franco as a pretentious artist, Jonah Hill as a passive-aggressive jerk, and Danny McBride as the jackass who keeps screwing everything up. Meanwhile, the Foo Fighters can blend into each other. Aside from Grohl, Pat Smear probably gets the most laughs with a running gag involving him sleeping in the kitchen. Unless you’re a Foo Fighters fan going in, though, you’re unlikely to remember anyone else’s name.
There are a few other famous faces who pop up, including Will Forte and Jenna Ortega. Whitney Cummings stands out as a nosy neighbor who looks and sounds like an even more unhinged version of Flo from the Progressive commercials. This is Grohl’s show through and through, however. While it would’ve been nice if Studio 666 spotlighted the whole ensemble, the emphasis on Grohl makes sense once we get to the ending. While rushed, the big twist is clever given who spends most of the film center stage. I won’t give away what happens, but let’s say that Grohl is the reason to see the movie.