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Studio 666 Review | Grohl’s Committed Performance in Foo Fighters-led Horror Flick Makes it Worth Watching ‘Everlong’

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We’ve come a long way from the Beatles revolutionizing the rock band film with A Hard Day’s Night. Enter, the Foo Fighters, who star in Studio 666, a horror flick about the band recording their tenth album (which was actually released in 2021). Studio 666 is a tongue-in-cheek horror film that takes camp up to the max. It’s filled with a fun performance from Dave Grohl, who is having the time of his life, and some great scenes where the band records their songs (including a 45-minute song).

Studio 666 is a supernatural horror-comedy film that follows the Foo Fighters as they attempt to record their tenth studio album in an Encino mansion. Lead singer Dave Grohl has hit a creative dry spell; leaving him with the ability to only play his old songs and watching YouTube tutorials on how to write hit songs when you’ve hit such a dry spell. Studio 666 is a fictional version of The Beatles: Get Back with supernatural elements (other than Paul McCartney’s ability to create the song Get Back from the bass).

The thing about Studio 666 is that it likely came to be in a very similar fashion to how the band ends up at the haunted Encino mansion: The idea being pitched to an excited “Let’s do this!” from Grohl. That’s not to say that the rest of the band wasn’t excited, but everything about Studio 666 feels like it means just a little bit more to Grohl than anyone else. It’s a high-budget passion project that doesn’t feel like a celebrity trying to use their popularity to branch off into other avenues — sorry, Addison Rae and Faze Rug. For lack of a better term, Studio 666 at least feels like a movie, if that makes any sense. And while none of the band members have a performance that holds a candle to Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a few that the band shouts out in the film, they have a rapport that only band members can share. I’ve already stated numerous times that Grohl is committed (and great), but the rest of the band members bring something to the table.

A still from STUDIO 666. Photo courtesy of Open Road Films.

Drummer Taylor Hawkins might be my favorite part of the band. If you haven’t ever seen him drum solo and improv, I highly recommend it. The dude is uber-talented and he shares some hilarious back-and-forth lines with Grohl. At one point, Grohl invents a new chord, the “L#,” to which Rami asks what happened to the “H, I, J, K” chords to which Grohl replies: “G, H, I don’t give a fuck.” The chemistry of a band that has been together for two or three decades is on full display, and it’s most of what brings the film to life. Another great example of the wit of the band members is when one character is possessed, two of the band members decide to look at a guide that can help determine whether or not someone is actually possessed and in need of an exorcism. This guide includes “incessant masturbating” and “insatiable hunger for raw meat” (specifically chicken). It’s the delivery of these lines that are far funnier than they are on paper, but they are still worth noting. Pat Smear and Nate Mendel are a great pair that also have the best sequence in the entire film. At one point, they are chased around by a possessed band member in a hilarious long-take.

It’s not just band quips that’ll make you laugh, there are some awesome cameos in Studio 666. Will Forte plays a delivery driver and wannabe band member, who sets off Grohl by stating that the Foo Fighters are his second favorite band behind Coldplay (I would be insulted, too). The violence in the film is gruesome and very gory, but while that may sound like the recent Texas Chainsaw Movie, it’s the complete juxtaposition as it serves its purpose as campy violence that is meant to be cheesy. There is blood spurting out of bodies like a Tarantino movie and cymbals being used as weapons, but it’s clearly not meant to be serious. Even the final showdown features enough low-blows to put the WWE and Jackass crews to shame.

A still from STUDIO 666. Photo courtesy of Open Road Films.

One cast member who is severely underused is Jenna Ortega. You could probably count the minutes of screentime the young star has on one hand. Studio 666 is a Foo Fighters-centric movie, but it would’ve been great to see Ortega used more. In all fairness, Studio 666 was filmed long before her breakout role in Scream (2022), but they likely knew what they had in her white filming Studio 666 and even five more minutes would’ve done wonders for the film.

Look, there’s nothing deep about Studio 666, and that’s perfectly fine. They do throw a line or two in there about “selling your soul” in the rock and roll industry, but it never goes further than that. Ditto to the numerous references throughout the film, most of which are great. David Lynch’s Dune and Waterworld are both mentioned, Led Zeppelin is referenced because Grohl wants “wizards and dragons and shit” a la Led Zeppelin while they recorded an album, Grohl leaps out of a pool in a very Jason Voorhees-like manner, and the fictional manager in the film, played by Jeff Garlin, pokes fun at the band for not putting out albums like Sting, though this line doesn’t hold much weight as Sting has put out five albums since 2011, one of which was simply an album of reworked songs, and the Foo Fighters have put out four.

You don’t have to be the world’s biggest Foo Fighters fan to enjoy Studio 666, but you have to be able to tolerate Dave Grohl (not that this is a hard task) like his band members do when he insists on a 45-minute song with no known ending at the time of recording (what are they, Greta Van Fleet on their second album?). Studio 666 is a joy to watch as one of the best examples of self-awareness in a passion project. The Foo Fighters aren’t world-renowned actors, but like Grohl’s superb rendition of Band on the Run showed, he can learn how to fly, and boy, do the Foo Fighters fly.

Open Road Films will release Studio 666 in theaters on February 25.

FILM RATING

Andrew is an entertainment journalist and film "critic" who has written for the likes of Above the Line, Below the Line, Collider, Film Focus Online, /Film and The Hollywood Handle among others. Leader of the Kaitlyn Dever Fanclub.

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Action

‘Violent Night’ Review | A Violent Delight & Bloody Christmas Caper!

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HO HO HOLY HUMBUG!! Violent Night is an instant Christmas Classic packed with Festive Fun and Christmas Carnage! Tommy Wirkola blends gnarly bloody action with laughs and a magical story about believing. David Harbour Sleighs! as Santa Claus. 

From 87North, the bare-knuckle producers of Nobody, John Wick, Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, Bullet Train and Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw comes a coal-dark holiday action-comedy that says you should always bet on red. When a team of mercenaries breaks into a wealthy family compound on Christmas Eve, taking everyone inside hostage, the team isn’t prepared for a surprise combatant: Santa Claus (David Harbour, Black Widow, Stranger Things series) is on the grounds, and he’s about to show why this Nick is no saint!

(from left) David Harbour and John Leguizamo on the set of Violent Night.

Review

Santa Claus Has Had Enough of Christmas

This Holiday Season, Santa Claus is coming to town in this ultra-violent sugar cookie-coated tale from writers Pat Casey and Josh Miller whilst directed by Tommy Wirkola who infuses his gore-soaked humour into this familiar holiday tradition that’s full of festive fun, ferocious fights, action-set pieces involving Christmas ornaments, Ice-skates, and a Nutcracker. “Violent Night” is sure to be a Christmas Crowd pleaser that’ll ultimately make you think twice about candy canes and the Christmas tree star whilst also being a fantastic homage to the seasonal genre classics like “Home Alone” and “Die Hard”.

“Violent Night” introduces David Harbour as Santa Claus, a cynic washing away and drowning his frustrations with booze on Christmas Eve, he’s feeling burned out by a world with too much greed and too little Christmas spirit, and he’s ultimately disgusted with the world’s consumerism. Harbour perfectly slips into the jolly red suit and into the role of this cranky, brutal, and savage version of Santa Claus, making it look effortless as he goes from a despairing drunk to a bloodthirsty warrior on the battlefront truly capturing some of the best Seasons Beatings with gruesome and inventive kills. However, Harbour also provides some of the film’s endearing, heartfelt moments when he magically goes down the chimney, eating decorative cookies, and interacting with Trudy played by Leah Brady definitely thawed out this jolly man’s heart.

David Harbour as Santa in Violent Night, directed by Tommy Wirkola. © 2022 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Snow Way Out

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Lightstone residence. The Lightstone family, are an affluent and dysfunctional bunch gathering for Christmas at the countryside mansion of Gertrude Lightstone played by Beverly D’Angelo (National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise). It’s a lavish estate that has been funded by the profitable family business. Jason Lightstone (Alex Hassell), his estranged wife Linda(Alexis Louder), and their daughter Trudy (Leah Brady) travel to the family and are joined by Jason’s alcoholic sister Alva (Edi Patterson), her new boyfriend and wannabe-action-star Morgan Steele (Cam Gigandet), and Alva’s influencer son Bert (Alexander Elliot).

However, Just as Santa arrives there to deliver gifts — and takes a break to sample some fine liquor along with his cookies — the criminal mastermind called “Mr Scrooge” (John Leguizamo) breaks in with his gang of minions, intending to steal $300 million from Gertrude’s vault. But the money appears to be missing, and the Lightstones are taken, hostage. John Leguizamo plays Scrooge, the leader of the mercenaries with skill and energy which is a perfect rival for Harbour’s Santa. Alongside his gang of mercenary minions aptly identified with Christmas codenames such as Candycane, Sugar Plum, Gingerbread, and Krampus provide some of the most hilarious and bloody moments.

(from left) Sugarplum (Stephanie Sy), Gertrude (Beverly DÕAngelo), Alva (Edi Patterson), Morgan Steel (Cam Gigandet), Frosty (Can Aydin), Bert (Alexander Elliot), Linda (Alexis Louder), Peppermint (Rawleigh Clements-Willis), Scrooge (John Leguizamo) and Gingerbread (AndrŽ Eriksen) in Violent Night, directed by Tommy Wirkola.

Feliz Navi-Dead

“Violent Night” truly has its Season’s beatings as it’s jam-packed with ferocious fights and bloody deaths. The fights are incredibly well done, and the choreography and stunt of the action sequences are a work of art. Though at first, when the shooting begins, Santa doesn’t want to get involved. But once he recognizes Trudy’s involvement and realizes her goodness and innocence including her belief —which he dutifully looks up on a magical “Naughty and Nice” list—he determines that he must fight for her safety.

This movie is also rightly named “Violent Night” as it ultimately leaves pools of blood on the floor and blood spattered on the walls which in turn make the snow red. Throughout each action-set piece Santa batter’s the mercenaries with fists and heavy objects; stabs one with knives, sharpened candy canes and, well, anything with a point; and have their necks and body parts slashed or impaled on the likes of everything from axes and sharp Christmas ornaments to ice skates.

One sequence perfectly captures the essence and pays homage to “Home Alone”. it’s full of innocence, fun, and games as the traps that Trudy set are lethal.

© Universal Studios Violent Night, directed by Tommy Wirkola.

Final Thoughts

HO HO HO

“Violent Night” is ultimately a story about Santa saving Christmas yet again, however this time with an onslaught of grisly holiday surprises. The movie’s heart is the magic of christmas, and even Santa doesn’t fully understand it, we see that magical force at play several times as he magically evaporates and whisks up a number of chimney flues and that his sack has the ability to store an endless number of gifts that he can magically pull out just by reaching in. The film also incudes a sountrack of festive themes and a creative use of Christmas songs which will leave audiences crying with laughter. Writers Pat Casey, Josh Miller and director Tommy Wirkola blends such gnarly bloody action with laughs and a magical story about believing.

“Violent Night”  Ultimately achieves a perfect blending of genres and totally exceeds expectations, truly making it a wildly entertaining holiday horror caper. With it’s impressive body count, explosions, bloodshed, heart, and overall holiday cheer, “Violent Night” most definitely earns a spot on the Nice List! and If your able to see this in cinemas, do so as the experience on the big screen is epic. I intend to make this a part of my annual holiday movie watchlist from here on out.

“Violent Night” is now showing in Theatres!

FILM RATING
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Alien: Covenant

Cailee Spaeny Circling Newest Installment in ‘Alien’ Film Franchise

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 Fox has continued their Alien franchise since its inception in the 1970s. The first film was groundbreaking for its gritty sci-fi horror themes creating one of the best heroines on screen with Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley and it appears they may be trying to reinvent the wheel once again with the rumored choice to lead the next franchise installment.

According to multiple outlets, Cailee Spaeny is in talks with 20th Century to join the Alien franchise leading its latest set to be directed by Don’t Breathe director, Fede Alvarez. Though there are not many details coming with this scoop, we do know that the franchise will likely continue its trend of having the iconic creature known as the Xenomorphs attacking whatever humans they encounter, this time set to be led by Spaeny. The studio is hoping to wrap up its deal with the actress as soon as possible as they would like to have cameras rolling by early 2023.

Spaeny was recently seen in HBO’s Mare of Easttown but has two high-profile movies she’s working on currently. The first being cast as Priscilla Presley for Sofia Coppola’s upcoming romance movie aptly titled, Priscilla, which follows the relationship of the King of Rock and Roll and his wife. Spaeny will be joined by Euphoria star, Jacob Elordi who will portray Elvis. Additionally, she will star in Civil War, the latest from Alex Garland alongside Kirsten Dunst and Wagner Moura. 

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Entertainment

‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ Adds ‘Stranger Things’ Breakout Star Joseph Quinn

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 Joseph Quinn’s new character, Eddie Munson within Stranger Things Season 4 was beloved by fans everywhere making Quinn’s star rise. Now, after months of anticipation, fans can see Quinn joining another popular horror-based franchise. 

According to a report from Deadline, Joseph Quinn is set to join the cast of A Quiet Place: Day One, a spinoff film of A Quiet Place developed by John Krasinski. Quinn will co-star in the movie alongside Lupita Nyong’o who was just recently added to the movie set to be directed by Michael Sarnoski.

Stranger Things Season 4 was one of my favorite seasons of television all year long and in recent memory. Part of the reason for that was the familiar favorites that have been with the Netflix original for past seasons, but Quinn’s Eddie Munson was a welcome addition and added an element that the show was missing. Despite the acting talents throughout the show, not all of the stars have taken off in the same way that Quinn has despite only appearing in the most recent season. 

 Sarnoski, who previously directed last year’s drama, Pig starring Nicolas Cage, signed on to direct A Quiet Place: Day One back in January while Nyong’o has been attached for only a short time entering negotiations in early-November. Nyong’o can be seen in theaters currently reprising her role as Nakia in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

A Quiet Place: Day One, though being an additional installment within the horror franchise, is not a continuation of the previous two films, but rather a spinoff that will probably not see John Krasinski nor Emily Blunt reprise their roles. However, Day One‘s story was written by Krasinski himself and he is developing the third film in the main storyline currently as Paramount is hoping to create their own universe following the rousing success of the first two movies. A Quiet Place: Day One hits theaters on March 8, 2024.

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