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Stage Fright 2014

Stage Fright is a visual cacophony of mismatched genre images. It's an immensely underwhelming directorial debut that reads more like a film school project than an actual feature length film.

The Gist: Theatre geeks go away to summer camp to sing their hearts out where no one can make fun of them. They attempt to produce something that looks a lot like The Phantom of the Opera and ends just as well for everyone involved.

Knowing they are riffing on Phantom of the Opera doesn't make it feel any less like they are really riffing on Scream or Scary Movie. Capitalizing on the popularity of shitty TV like Glee and the endless slew of High School Musical movies, there is very little to take seriously in this movie due to their immature production.

I assumed, just by the production values, that it was an independent thing. I kept being thrown by it having a sort of (washed up) famous cast including Mini Driver. I was surprised to see her in her underwear as she's got to be like 45 now. It's not that she's aging badly or anything, I always thought of her as more "conservative" than "sexy" or "saucy" and here she is, middle-aged and romping around in her undies.

And they got Meatloaf - who they barely had sing anything. I was trying to guess if Mini Driver actually did her singing or not, but then I realized she was actually in the 2004 version of Phantom of the Opera. I'm sure someone in development thought this would be clever casting... This whole line of mulling actually leads me into my next rant about these shitty, low-budget musicals. Why would you cast people who can sing and not use them and then cast ANYONE who isn't a strong singer - in a fucking musical? Repo was littered with people who were struggling to get through their parts.

How did so many people review this movie and NOT talk about Cannibal The Musical Or Repo Or The Rocky Horror Picture Show Or even The Addam's Family Values? This isn't the first movie to try and mix "a musical" with "horror" but, it is one of the worst.

Stage Fright primarily misses the mark because they tried to straddle too many genres at once and couldn't put together any solid jokes. Comedy hinges on context - minus the context, there is no way for the audience to "get" why a joke is funny. Drama nerds and horror nerds don't have the same canon of material to make fun of. There are moments in Stage Fright that anyone can gather (from the delivery of lines) when something is supposed to be funny BUT  those moments aren't actually funny to horror nerds only to the theatre nerds.

I did laugh when the little boy building sets shook the circular saw above his head in frustration in a mock Leatherface moment.


They also attempted a Carrie homage (a bucket of blood rigged to be poured on the female lead during her moment of greatness). This is one of their most successful gags because they have actually built the entire plot to parallel Carrie. Having just watched the remake, I was actually thinking that Allie MacDonald would have made a WAY better Carrie than Chloe Grace Moretz did.

All in all, let Stage Fright be a lesson to you: know your audience, know your genre, and get some feedback from someone OTHER THAN YOUR FRIENDS before making a movie.

You could lose another minute of your life watching the trailer here OR you could spare yourself the wasted seconds and go watch ANYTHING ELSE.

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