Eager to find a new sound for their tenth album, Dave Grohl (Dave Grohl) trains his band, Foo Fighters (Foo Fighters), in a disused studio in an old mansion. Only one problem: a demon lives there and is looking for new blood and bodies. Cue gore.
Old school rock music and classic horror cinema have a lot in common. They share much of their aesthetic, a certain counter-cultural comfort with the creation of unease and quite a bit of shouting. But true crossovers between the two art forms haven’t always been successful, which is why this Foo Fighters meta-horror/comedy is a real treat.
The editing couldn’t be simpler: the band is under pressure to record a new album from a ridiculously mean label boss (Jeff Garlin). But frontman Dave Grohl is tired of trying to find a new sound in the same old studios. They therefore rent a mansion used for the last time in 1993 by a group that has now disappeared. Unaware or, in Grohl’s case, impressed by his obvious creepiness, they move in and start recording – and things get bloody.
In a very, very strange way, it’s ultimately a love letter from Grohl to his bandmates.
It’s largely a one-location film featuring a group of non-actors, who show varying degrees of comfort in front of the camera. It could so easily have been a disaster. But director BJ McDonnell builds on everyone’s strengths, giving Grohl the most easygoing as an ego-monster version of himself and plenty of the funniest moments. Then he lets the rest warm up gradually. Keyboardist Rami Jaffee plays the role of ladies’ man, with drummer Taylor Hawkins as, fittingly, the stabilizing influence when the going gets tough. Rhythm guitarist Pat Smear is stiff at first but eventually reveals an unsuspected facility for screams of horror.
There are extra layers here for Foo fans, but it doesn’t rely on jokes or even just self-parody for his laughs. At its core, it’s a bunch of ignorant rockers and a selfish singer facing evil beyond their comprehension, and it’s a solid horror concept. The slow build of the first half might be a little too slow – it would be better at a tight 90 minutes – but that’s a minor issue. In a very, very strange way, it’s ultimately a love letter from Grohl to his bandmates, written with courage and gore. And what could be more rock’n’roll than that?
Pleasantly silly and incredibly gory, this lives up to its low-budget inspirations and rock stars.