Review by Emanuele Sacchi
Thursday 23 June 2022
The record company proposes to the Foo Fighters to record their tenth album in an abandoned and sinister villa, ideal to accommodate the desired vibrations. Dave Grohl and associates, however, do not know that in the same place years before another band, Dream Widow, had ended up massacring each other. In a short time Grohl makes disturbing discoveries about an arcane unfinished song and ends up being possessed by the evil spirit of the leader of Dream Widow.
A curious and somewhat anachronistic initiative that orchestrated by Dave Grohl and associates: a film in which the protagonists are a fictional and caricatured version of the members of a real band, played by the band itself.
From the parts of A Hard Day’s Night – All for one, in essence, but with horror and its side of cursed houses and witchcraft books replacing the Beatles’ British humor. In terms of horror staging, all the budget limits available – or rather the ability to use the latter in a profitable way – emerge.
But if the special effects are clunky and well-known, the level of splatter truculence of is surprising Study 666, which does not skimp on grand guignol and assorted dismemberments, bizarre uses of chainsaw or barbecue included. BJ McDonnell’s film has the merit of never taking itself seriously, fully aware of playing everything on the edge of trash and running the real risk of remaining a fan curiosity of the group, even if this lightness is badly combined with a extra-large duration from an ambitious film.
Self-irony turns the Foo Fighters into exaggerated caricatures of their respective personalities: Grohl is derided for his absurd workaholic optimism and self-indulgence, Rami Jaffee is portrayed as a sex maniac, Pat Smear as an eccentric with childish manias and delusions. By peeling this patina of parody, however, it is easy to bring out the real sense of the operation, which transpires from the possibility, through the film, of conveying part of Dave Grohl’s Weltanschauung rock, transforming it into a promotional object (complete with a Dream Widow side project already started).
Why does he make fun of Coldplay if not to regain an “alternative” allure to those who have sold out to the mainstream? And so on, through small jokes or quotes that try to reaffirm the centrality of rock and its system of values in a world (musical, but not only) that now tends to look beyond. In essence, horror lovers can safely ignore it, but fans of the group will find in Study 666 reasons of interest. If only to see one last time in action Taylor Hawkins, drummer, who died prematurely on March 25th.
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