When Dave Grohl sang, “Feel it come to life when I see your ghost“, in the song “All My Life”, he probably never imagined that he would fight demons and ghosts in a comedy horror almost 20 years later. Following the production of their 10th studio album, medicine at midnightthe Foo Fighters filmed a evil Dead-style romps in the same house in which they recorded their last album. Many projectile vomiting gags later, Workshop 666 is the rock band’s addition to the long tradition of self-aware group films.
Workshop 666 is peppered with horror movie references – from the brilliant for Tucker and Dale vs Evil, a melting pot of greatest hits that any casual fan of the genre can enjoy. Grohl is the leader of the film the same way he is the leader of his band – his quirky, positive personality pervades the film, where the rest of his bandmates are presented as weird one-note stereotypes, like the keyboardist Rami Jaffee being a raging horndog. and rhythm guitarist Pat Smear being weirdly obsessed with snacking (usually in the form of constant product placement for Doritos). While Grohl’s candor is authentic, the film largely leans into his character hitting on a number of rock tropes that have followed him since his Nirvana days.
Grohl plays an egomaniac, obsessed with size on this 10th studio album, making his colleagues miserable as they struggle to write a 45-minute song in a spooky house where a band called Dream Widow died decades before. The film itself is strewn about, clinging to the straws of old music industry jabs, like explicit anti-Big Label sentiment and oddly placed sarcastic insults to Coldplay. Workshop 666Silly, light-hearted, and sometimes amusing but dated remarks about the music industry are more spice world than A hard day’s Nightan unfortunate setback for a film intended to entertain.
It’s not that Workshop 666 was meant to be an explosion of creativity and originality, but most of its jokes fall flat because they’re recycled from the many movies that came first. Sacrificial raccoons on the wall of a basement would feel a whole lot cooler if the whole scene wasn’t the same cabin-in-the-woods formula that’s been tweaked to death. These tropes also attempt to carry the movie, creating a goof of a finale that largely makes no sense and wastes new scream queen Jenna Ortega.
The Foo Fighters are a rare group that has retained a pretty decent relevance decades after rock dominated the music industry. Their self-aware horror-comedy is a sweet ode to their ride, but where medicine at midnight brought them a beautiful wave of good praise, Workshop 666 feels like a dud – a horror movie with no good hooks and a rock & roll movie that lacks the explosive energy that’s always present at the band’s gigs.