‘Studio 666’ is a Devilish Delight

By JP Spence

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‘Studio 666’ is a Devilish Delight
Foo Fighters’ feature film highlights group dynamic in comedy-horror flick. Never mind the rock doc, it’s the feature film where rock bands reveal their inner selves. Rock ‘n’ Roll High School featured The Ramones, punk rock pioneers who in turn really thought they were as wholesome as The Beach Boys. KISS Meets The Phantom of the Park highlights the band as the only thing bigger than their on-stage personas: Superheroes. When it comes to the Foo Fighters’ film, Studio 666, it’s pretty much business as usual: dads doing dad jokes. The plot suggests a supernatural horror film about an artist’s descent into hell while trying to record the band’s latest album, easily recalling a riffed-out version of The Amityville Horror. As heavy as that sounds, the film also stars Dave Grohl, whose comedic chops are as appreciated as his talent behind the drum kit. The other members of the band are more than up to the task with only the silliest improvised lines and meanest of camera mugging. That being said, Pat Smear completely steals the show. The guitarist, better known for being a living rock legend (previously being in The Germs and Nirvana before Foo Fighters), could’ve easily had a career in comedy. The improvised lines highlight a brotherly-yet-bitchy repartee with Grohl and the facial reactions to anything on screen is purely sublime. If you’ve ever watched a friend’s reaction to them watching one of your favorite films for the first time, it’s that level great. Chris Shiflett’s bit of being the black sheep in the band is hit hard enough times that it’s just as funny on the twentieth time as it was on the first. This only proves, yet again, that the guitarist is the unsung hero in the band. Keyboardist Rami Jaffee is another key utility player with a bevy of sight-gags and slimy Lothario charm. The biggest surprise in the film and to Foo Fighters fans is the performance of bass player Nate Mendel. Known for being bookish and quiet, the straight man to the band’s never-ending antics, actually carries the film as its chief protagonist. This seems like such an odd choice, as the bassist has seemingly craved being in the background for the band’s 27-year existence. Here, he is a believable and likeable hero. Can we please get more Nate Mendel in the future please? The remaining cast is small but equally high-usage. Comedian Whitney Cummings plays the next door neighbor with a sixth sense for all the mayhem that is about to ensue but also has undeniable chemistry with Jaffee. Let’s see that film next. Jeff Garlin plays an over-the-top version of the band’s manager, John Silva, and feels right at home given his character on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Also props to Slayer’s Kerry King for the most electrifying of cameos, and to horror-icon John Carpenter for penning the film’s theme song. Studio 666 is more likely to be nominated for a Revolver Metal God Award than any Academy Award, but it’s a great excuse to get back into the movie theater.

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April 15, 2022