7 Apr 2014

Review - 'Stage Fright' Delivers as Neither a Sufficient Slasher nor an Addictive Musical

Director: Jerome Sable
Writer: Jerome Sable
Stars: Minnie Driver, Meat Loaf, Allie McDonald
Running Time: 89 mins
Sub-Genre: Slasher, Muscial
Release: April 2014

Starry-eyed teenager Camilla Swanson wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a Broadway diva, but she’s stuck working in the kitchen of a snobby performing arts camp. Determined to change her destiny, she sneaks in to audition for the summer showcase and lands a lead role in the play, but just as rehearsals begin, blood starts to spill, and Camilla soon finds herself terrified by the horror of musical theatre.

The last time I seen a hybrid horror with a vest for song was Sweeney Todd, and I might be the only one here but that was not a film that I wanted to revisit; Stage Fright was very much the same. Perhaps it's my dislike for musicals that immediately turned me off this one regardless of my initial reaction, but watching Stage Fright is like watching your average musical (Ala Rent) with your average slasher (Ala Prom Night), which means you don't get the horror you deserve as well as the catchy toe-tapping numbers you were hoping for. Instead however, Stage Fright presents us with a half-assed delivery, musical numbers that are neither addicted nor fresh, and a final act that deflates so quickly that everything beforehand just feels both pointless and inept.

The energy is all there as the cast gives it their all, but for something so full of vibrance, I found it surprising that it was so scarce of originality. Say "Its intention was to play with cliche's" all you want, but the truth in the matter is, Stage Fright was too familiar to work to its full potential, and it is that familiarity which caused it to flop on both levels. Of course, it does have its qualities which do not go a miss, but it is the inconsistency and lack of faith it has to the genre that stubs the film from being great.

Throwing gore around more than chorus notes doesn't exactly make it a horror, but instead highlights that Sable knows a lot more about musicals than he does about horror. The deaths are just thrown together in a sloppy and predictable manner, and although the deaths are hugely entertaining, you can't help but feel that everything from this film was ripped from one of those trashy 80's slashers that where as good as a kick between the legs. Stage Fright does deliver on the musical side of things, but the potential it had was simply wasted on its predictable premise and gimmicky approach. Humour is always welcome, and no more so than in Stage Fright, but the film's aim is too narrow to see than the events that take place are not funny, and are instead tacky and tasteless. Without the gore and mediocre musical notes, what else does it have to offer?

Scream meets Glee in this slasher musical, and although Stage Fright is both quirky and energetic, it can't help but also be annoying and too much of a gimmick; It's a shame that something so vibrant can be so dull.

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