Stage Fright (2014) – Review

This horror-musical is solid proof that despite the splatter, the show must go on!

A musical theater camp is terrorized by a masked serial killer, who hates music students and despises everything cheerful and merry; thus he is constantly seen in scenes screaming goth-metal tunes. His vengefulness  and brutal instincts turn into a bloody massacre that will leave everyone in the camp scarred and struck with fear.

Ten years after the violent murder of musical actress Kylie Swanson (Minnie Driver), her final show is back on stage, causing distress and bringing back bad memories to her twin children, who were only a couple of 6-year-olds when the tragic incident occurred.

A decade later, Buddy (Douglas Smith) and Camilla (Allie MacDonald) are seen working at the Central Stage musical camp which used to be the theatre where their mother starred. The camp is now run by Roger McCall (Meat Loaf), Kylie’s boyfriend and the twins’ guardian ever since the death.

The characters are quite distinct. Camilla is still traumatized by her mother’s murder, but her love for singing and performing is strong enough to make her audition for the lead role. On the other hand, Buddy is not even remotely connected to the world of theatre, however he always supports his sister.

Roger, is a seemingly caring guy, but deep down he is just a manipulative businessman, desperate to save his camp from closure as he is in the verge of bankruptcy. A bunch of other fun characters also make their appearance, creating a very joyful and merry atmosphere, that will be utterly spoiled by the blood-thirsty and spiteful killer.

Director, scriptwriter and composer Jerome Sable intentionally draws the attention to two possible villains. Could it be the creepy old janitor, who clearly seems to hate his job and looks so miserable that even his sweeping is sad? Or is it the weird technician-boy, Joel, who is secretly in love with Camilla and seems to be blinded by his feelings for her? These two characters are quite predictable, so could it be that Sable wants to drive the attention away from the real serial killer?

Stage Fright starts like a proper and common slasher. Having a murder scene in the beginning, definitely helps  the story unfold and gives a reason for macabre anniversaries years later. When that splatter scene is over and the viewers are taken ten years later, they may forget that they are supposed to be watching a horror movie. Stage Fright suddenly becomes a cheesy teenage-flick, with lots of signing and dancing; a happy atmosphere marks the first half of the movie.

It’s not until the second part when Stage Fright becomes a fun, bubbly and musical version of Jason Voorhees’s massacre. Actors are signing, technicians are working like crazy, but mayhem and chaos prevail behind the scenes. The goth-metal dude is on a killing-spree, ready to stain the opening night with blood.

The flick certainly has its moments of gore, however they are quite limited. It is a very interesting approach to horror and I would dare to say that it’s a very smooth merge of the horror and musical genre. However, it will probably not please the loyal fans of splash movies, as this kind of scenes are accompanied by upbeat songs and catchy tunes.

Eventually, the show did go on and apparently it was a big, genius hit.

Overall, it’s a slasher musical that will probably leave you…singing!

3 Responses to “Stage Fright (2014) – Review”
  1. Ahh I’m a big fan of the ’87 Michele Soavi film and didn’t even know a remake was made (assuming this is one??)! By the sounds of it I may not love this one?


  2. thycriticman says:

    This was a decent flick! Nothing special yet fun whenever it was not dragging! It failed to excel in both genres by not being an amazing slasher nor a memorable musical. Yet I cannot say that I did not like it! The killer was cool and while the culprits were predictable….the “Who done it?” is always a nice mystery to solve


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