Thursday, 22 January 2015

Stage Fright (2014)

If you don't think that musical numbers can enhance a comedy slasher movie then you should run off right now to watch, and enjoy, The Legend Of Beaver Dam. It's a short film written and directed by Jerome Sable, with help in the music/lyrics department from Eli Batalion.

Stage Fright allows the two to stretch out the weird juxtaposition of bombastic tunes and copious amounts of bloodshed. It provides some amusement, but ultimately just ends up proving that the short film form was the best way to package this material.

After a great performance in The Haunting Of The Opera, a starlet named Kylie Swanson (Minnie Driver) is violently murdered by a masked killer. Fast forward many years later and we are introduced to a bunch of characters looking forward to some time in that most traditional of slasher movie settings, the summer camp. This particular camp is overseen by Roger McCall (Meat Loaf), the ex-boyfriend of Kylie. There are also two camp workers (Camilla, played by Allie McDonald, and Buddy, played by Douglas Smith) who happen to be the children of Kylie. The summer camp is focused on musical theatre, and I think you can guess what their big production is going to be for this year. And a masked killer strikes again as Camilla decides to try her luck and audition for the main role.

Thanks to a strong opening sequence, followed by a musical number that features some highly amusing lyrics, Stage Fright looks like it could be bloody good fun. As long as you know what you're in for then you can sit back and expect to enjoy yourself. Unfortunately, it starts to slide downhill quickly, trudging through a fairly redious middle section and then on to an unexciting and uninspired climax. Any supposed shocks in the third act are entirely predictable, although I do suspect that Sable made them that way on purpose, an extra joke about the standard slasher movie template. Elsewhere, the non-musical moments are tiresome, none of the characters stand out (not even any of the leads), and the song lyrics (once more crafted with help from Batalion) quickly become quite bland and unfunny.

Meat Loaf isn't too bad in his role, but he's one of the few highlights. He brings a bit more personality to any role he plays, of course, and this helps him to overcome the weakness of the script. McDonald and Smith don't fare so well, although they both have at least one scene each in which they show the potential to be better. And Brandon Uranoqitz, Ephraim Ellis, Kent Nolan and Melanie Leishman all blur in to one big mass of potential summer camp corpses.

Some of the kills are fun and I'm still not completely against the idea of a slasher movie that mixes such differing musical styles for comedic results. I just hope that the next time this is attempted, IF it is attempted again, the end result is a big improvement.


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