2014 SXSW Review: STAGE FRIGHT

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

If one loves slasher horror, comedic musicals, and is quite alright with a movie that spoofs the genres, then this movie is not one to miss. Written and directed by Jerome Sable, and co-written by Eli Batalion, Stage Fright takes place at a musical theater summer camp where the kids get targeted by a masked killer with an obvious distaste for musicals. Camilla Swanson (Allie McDonald) may have the theater in her blood and heart, but she must settle for working in the kitchen at the camp. Wanting to follow in her late mother’s footsteps, Camilla decides to audition for the camp’s musical production.  Putting all other competition to shame, she gets cast in the lead role. Her career as a stage star may come to a quick end as the masked killer begins eliminating the teens one by one.

With mostly spot on humor and hilarious songs, Stage Fright ended up becoming my second favorite midnighter by the end of SXSW 2014.  Whenever I wasn’t laughing myself silly, I definitely had a big smile on my face as I watched the antics take place on the big screen.  Not all of the jokes worked for me, but enough did to keep me amused during the run time.  I must give kudos to Sable and Batalion for their riotous lyrics and music choices.  It was the music and lyrics that made me laugh the most and usually the hardest.

I really enjoyed the performances of the cast which also includes Meat Loaf as camp director Roger McCall, an underused Minnie Driver as Kylie Swanson (Camilla’s mother), and Douglas Smith as Camilla’s brother Buddy.  Allie McDonald absolutely shines as the lead and is an absolute joy to behold on screen. Some of the humor gets a tad too silly for my taste, but the overall experience is enjoyable nevertheless. I certainly had fun with this farcical musical as will audiences who enjoy the brand of humor found in spoof movies.

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