SXSW 2014 Review: STAGE FRIGHT

By: Nikki May

Rating: B

Amidst the countless heart-wrenching, uncomfortably interesting movies that you would expect at SXSW, you almost crave some mind-numbing fun. Sometimes you need a break from all the seriousness, you need to laugh a little bit instead of crying (believe me, some tearing up occurred in some movies). Forego a plot or real character development, throw in some catchy songs with rude humor, add a dash of fake blood and murder and bam, you get Stage Fright. In the short description it was described as a combination of Scream and “Glee” — and I thought, all right, I’m curious. As a young woman who has never seen “Glee” (though familiar thanks to obsessed friends), and Scream was a distant memory, I wanted to see how it all played out.

And boy was it just that.

Think Phantom of the Opera, if you will. You have a mother, a beautiful, successful musical actress, who is murdered by a caped and masked man. She leaves behind a son and a daughter, who end up working at a summer camp for theater-minded children (or obsessed, either or). They’re cared for by the man their mother was dating, who always runs the camp. Camilla Swanson (Alie MacDonald) wants to follow in her mother’s lyrical footsteps, despite her brother’s wishes, and when the opportunity to audition for the last musical her mother was in, she jumps at it. As you could guess, it wasn’t that easy and she finds the road she craved to follow her mother, was a little more difficult than she expected. And a little more bloody.

But enough about that — let’s get into what really matters with this film, the part you care about. This was such a fun movie to watch, despite the gruesome murders every now and then. Thank goodness fake gore doesn’t get to me, otherwise I don’t know if I could stomach this (I know the woman next to me had to look away a lot). If you don’t like seeing blood in any degree, you may want to steer away from this film. But if you love catchy songs, ridiculous characters and some crude humor every now then, maybe you want to give it a try. Although I think you have the intelligence to assume this isn’t a movie for the more serious crowds, just know, it’s not much in realms of character development or a shocking plot. The characters stayed rather stagnant the whole way through, and I figured out the murderer long before the film was over (tricky red herrings). But they are amusing in the personalities nonetheless and had me laughing the whole way through.

Overall, if you want some amusement, some blood, maybe a jump scare or two, this is right up your alley and I invite you to check this film out.

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