Cinema Review: Stage Fright | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, July 30th, 2021  

Stage Fright

Studio: Magnet
Directed by Jerome Sable

May 06, 2014 Web Exclusive
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Jerome Sable’s Stage Fright has less in common with Alfred Hitchcock’s 1950 thriller than with Michele Soavi’s late-80s giallo-tinted slasher, both of the same name. In this latest film to use the title, teenagers at a summer Broadway retreat are terrorized by a kabuki-masked killer. Think Glee meets Sleepaway Camp and add in a few musical numbers, and you’ll be heading down the right path.

Young Camilla (Allie MacDonald) is a kitchen worker at a theater camp run by her adoptive father (Meat Loaf). Ten years earlier, her diva mother (Minnie Driver, in a brief cameo) was murdered following her opening performance of The Haunting of the Opera on Broadway. With the camp in dire straits, Roger decides to entice talent scouts to their annual showcase by reviving the cursed musical. Camilla earns a chance at reprising her late mother’s role, but on the eve of their debut show a killer begins picking off the singing campers one by one.

Stage Fright almost works as a pitch-perfect parody of ‘80s b-grade slashers, but succumbs to many of the genre’s same weaknesses. The plot is thin and the acting is rarely more than passable—Meat Loaf may be the film’s most convincing performer—but it suits the movie’s campy vibe well enough. Unfortunately, it’s what makes the movie unique that may actually hurt Stage Fright the most: the songs—outside of an early number in which the kids arrive at the camp—are forgettable and not particularly funny. Better music would have gone a long way towards helping this movie’s lasting cult appeal; as it is, Stage Fright might be a kick for fans of cheesy horror, but not one viewers will be returning to again and again.

Author rating: 5/10

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