Studio 666 review – what possessed Dave Grohl to make this frightful gonzo grossout?

The Foo Fighters try to purge themselves of writer’s block with a retreat to a haunted house in an insufferable vanity project of a horror-comedy

The estimable Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters has bafflingly decided to try everyone’s patience with this insufferable vanity project: a violent gonzo grossout that sadly conforms to the horror-comedy tendency of being neither properly scary nor properly funny. And it’s founded on the assumption that these real-life badass rock musicians are also pretty hilarious and adorable.

In this alternative universe, the Foo Fighters are creatively blocked: we see them sitting around the boardroom table in their record company offices, listlessly bickering. So the irascible corporate suit (Jeff Garlin, phoning it in) sends them to a notorious semi-derelict house with all sort of freaky associations with rock legends of the past, there to work on their new album. It was apparently last used by a troubled band called Dreamwidow, who were tipped to be “the next Jane’s Addiction”. Grohl becomes haunted by the place’s devilish spirits, increasingly obsessed with his own freaky otherworldly vision for the record, as more and more violent and demonic things keep happening.

Will Forte has a small role as the fast-food delivery guy who keeps trying to get Dave to listen to his demo tape. Bad idea. Grohl himself is at least reasonably relaxed, as the band’s much-loved frontman, finally in dire need of exorcism. But there is an awful lot of terrible wooden acting from everyone else, together with sub-Ghostbusters visual effects, for which the movie expects fanbase forgiveness. It does in fact contain one genuinely funny thing, and that is Lionel Richie’s cameo. But it is really quite disconcerting that the film’s comedy setup is about violent and horrible things that happened back in the 90s …? Some of which concerns a person taking their own life …? As Lionel Richie would say: hello?

• Studio 666 is released on 25 February in cinemas.


Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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