Review: Stage Fright (2014, Magnet Releasing)




Category: Musical, Slasher
Directed by:
Jerome Sable

Written by: Jerome Sable
Starring: Allie MacDonald, Douglas Smith, Minnie Driver, Meat Loaf
Music: Eli Batalion, Jerome Sable
Cinematography: Bruce Chun

First of all I should say that I hate musicals. There has never been a situation in my life where the need to break out into choreographed song and dance has ever felt even remotely necessary. They’re ridiculous, over dramatic, and just plain annoying. Crybaby is the only musical I’ll watch purely because John Waters is the man. With that being said, I’ll check out anything that Magnet throws at me, and the trailer looked intriguing. Basically the story is that Camilla (MacDonald), daughter of a Broadway star (Driver) who was killed by the Opera Ghost, aspires to take over her mother’s role in the upcoming play at the theater camp where she works. The masked assailant returns to spill some blood. Despite my hatred of musicals, I’ll try to be fair with this one.

The acting is great across the board. MacDonald portrays the very sweet, and likeable Camilla flawlessly with Douglas Smith doing just as good a job playing her protective brother. As an added bonus Meat Loaf plays the shifty camp producer Roger McCall. Then there’s the Opera Ghost who is really annoying, especially when he sings. The dude has a terrible voice. Plus shitty metal music that sounds like it was recorded with MIDI plays every time he breaks out into (a luckily brief) song. He looks pretty cool though, and kills people in a gory fashion. Every other character is pretty much every theater geek you loved to pick on, which is what you get when you have a really shitty hobby. Oh, and there’s a creepy janitor guy of course. He’s not as cool as Malvert though.

The music is pretty typical of a musical, dramatic and whimsical. Luckily there aren’t a ton of musical numbers outside the context of the play within the film. They try to throw some humor into some of the songs, but it still doesn’t change the fact that it’s a musical number. There are a few funny moments throughout the film, but not enough to classify this as a horror comedy. The gore is probably one of the better aspects here, as well as the story which I found pretty engaging. Other than a couple weak lines, the script is pretty tight too. The look of the film is excellent; great cinematography, costume design and lighting throughout. It seems like a lot of Magnet movies share a similar look and feel to them. I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence but there’s often vibrant color palettes along with contrasts in dark scenes, quirky humor and plenty of violence. One of my biggest issues was that there should’ve been more theater kids hacked up. So if there was less singing and more killing then this would be a way better movie.

So this was actually a pretty solid feature if you can sit through a musical type slasher flick. There’s really not that many song and dance numbers though so if I were to watch it again I would just skip the first quarter of the movie. And mute it when the Opera Ghost opens his mouth. If you have any other musical-horror flicks you can think of you can keep them to yourself because I don’t want to watch them, I’ve reached my yearly quota for that crap.