Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


STAGE FRIGHT (2014). Writer/director/composer: Jerome Sable.

Camilla Swanson (Allie MacDonald) and her brother, Buddy (Douglas Smith), are cooks at a musical theater summer camp. Ten years ago their mother, Kylie (Minnie Driver), was butchered in her dressing room after her triumph in the starring role of the Broadway show "The Haunting of the Opera." When Camilla learns that the camp is reviving the show, she decides to try out even though she's not a student at the camp. Producer Roger McCall (Meat Loaf), who's like a father to her and Buddy, lets her audition and she becomes one of the two actresses alternating in the lead. But a maniac who despises show tunes is stalking the camp, slaughtering anyone connected to the production. If Stage Fright was meant to be a movie with thrills and laughs a la Scream and its sequels, it doesn't come off, and doesn't quite cut it as a parody either -- instead, it's of all things, a kind of slasher musical that never delivers on the fun it promises, although it does have a couple of grisly moments. Everything in the picture is predictable, from the identity of the killer, to the simpering ersatz show music, to the creepy red herring handyman, to the "big queen" stage manager who embodies a gay stereotype, as well as the good-looking guy who insists he's not gay until, improbably, he realizes he's attracted to the "big queen." The biggest trouble with the movie is that it lacks energy and suspense. MacDonald makes an effective heroine, Smith is compelling as her brother, and Kent Nolan is appealing as Joel, who has an unrealized crush on Camilla. The other actors aren't bad at all, but this movie isn't memorable.

Verdict: More Can't Stop the Music than Scream 2. **.

No comments: