Not to be confused with Stage Fright (1950) directed by the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock.
Or the (apparently) cult classic Italian film from 1987*
What I’m talking about here is a cringe-inducingly bad, eye-wateringly awful 2014 Stage Fright “starring” MInnie Driver and Meatloaf… Honestly, it’s really, really bad.
Now, to be fair, I always try not to learn too much about a film that I intend to see, so I was blissfully ignorant of the fact that this is actually…are you ready…? A… musical. Yeah, an actual musical. I shit-you-not! I may henceforth reconsider my approach to film selection… Anyway…
Now, I’m not against musicals per se. There are a fair few that I’m very fond of. I’m even partial to an occasional trip to the West End. But when you have a film that’s set mostly in a kid’s summer camp… a summer camp for [gulp] performing arts [shudder]…and then they start singing in the canteen for no discernible reason? Then I might struggle. If those kids are wailing like they just had their fingers slammed repeatedly in a car door? Then I definitely have a problem.
And herein lies one of the main problems with Stage Fright: spontaneous outbursts of song and dance that look choreographed but are meant to be spur of the moment? No. Plus, these kids have HORRIBLE VOICES. Just HORRIBLE. Really, if that’s the best you can do, you’re probably right to have stage fright. The [ahem] “characters” are the kind of uniformly one-dimensional clichés. The camp was populated by precocious, bratty young wannabes and actors in their late 20s trying to pass for 17. There were just too many jazz hands for my liking.
OK, I feel like I should go back a step and outline the plot briefly here. In a nutshell: singer gets murdered backstage, daughter grows up wants to be a singer, she and twin brother go to work at Meatloaf’s all-singing-all-dancing kids’ summer camp, girl tries out for the show, people sing, some get murdered, the shitting end.
To be fair, I think the main girl (above) might be quite good if she had something decent to do and a top that actually fits, and holds her boobs without fear of imminent popping. She was especially good towards the end as the film limped towards the finish line.
Maybe I could’ve enjoyed the unusual juxtaposition of the classic ‘let’s put on a show’ style of musical, with the classic summer-camp-stalk-and-slash horror, if the former had been brought down a notch. Or twenty. But no. It really was just too annoying to be redeemed, even with the not-really-totally-terrible final 10 minutes or so.
*I haven’t seen this one but something makes me think that Eric might like it.