Oh this movie is very silly.
Stage Fright hit my radar earlier this year when I was out in Austin at SXSW. It looked like a lot of fun, with its goofy premise and Kabuki make-up. So I’m excited it’s on Netflix for the streaming. But it really is very, very silly.
Stage Fright, 2014. Dir. & Written by Jerome Sable. Starring Allie MacDonald, Meat Loaf, Minnie Driver.
Yes, this movie is really starring Meat Loaf.
First off, what is this goofy premise I speak of? Basically, this is a slasher movie set at a musical theater camp. That’s putting on an opera meant to be a reference/ripoff of Phantom of the Opera. There are Sondheim jokes galore.
Did I mention it’s a musical? Because it’s a musical.
It’s an idea that could either be hilarious or terrible. I’m not a huge fan of musicals but I like the occasional odd duck. I did however have enough friends into theater (and I even went to a theater day camp myself one summer) to get and appreciate the jokes and humor. Mostly the concept works well enough. Just not always.
There are a few scenes and jokes that fall flat but honestly I think they sometimes just don’t go far enough with the absurdity. There was room for a little more music. And a little more character development…
I kind of love Allie MacDonald as the lead Camilla, a shy teen with aspirations of singing on Broadway. There are also a few other really solid to genuinely good performances. In fact, I don’t know that I can really think of a straight up bad one. That being said, most of the characters had such small parts that they didn’t have much to screw up.
The thing I had the hardest time with was the identity of the killer and the reveal of the mystery. I thought the killer was pretty obvious yet at the same time his reveal never felt earned. The character was just the obvious choice more by process of elimination than anything else.
You know, it’s not so much that I think this movie necessarily does anything wrong, it’s just that I wish there was more of it. I wish there was more of that wackiness on stage at the end. I wish there was more with all of the secondary characters. I wish I knew if the cute guy ever got the kiss he really wanted.
I didn’t love everything that happened here but there was a lot that I really did enjoy. It made me laugh but it was also a legit slasher. There were some super clever slasher moments. And fun references to movies like Halloween and Carrie. I’m also pretty sure I was getting an Argento vibe here but I might just be getting an Argento vibe from everything lately…
In conclusion, Liked it, didn’t completely Love it. Worth giving a watch I think if musical horror theater is your thing. If that’s even a thing. I think it should totally be a thing.