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STAGE FRIGHT Trailer Makes Fun of Itself

Stage Fright, starring Minnie Driver and Meat Loaf, follows a series of gruesome killings at a snobby musical theater camp. Young Camilla Swanson (Allie MacDonald) finds work in the kitchen of the performing arts camp, hoping that she will get the opportunity to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a Broadway star, yet she is stuck behind the scenes while more privileged kids learn the nuances of performing arts.

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Sneaking in to an audition for a summer showcase production, Camilla changed her role at the camp by landing the starring one in the play. But just as rehearsals start, so does the trouble as member after member of the cast is killed in a gruesome display of hatred for musical theater.

The trailer does a great job of hinting at the motivation behind the characters’ actions: Camilla wants to follow her mother to stardom and the unnamed killer wants to keep the play from going on. The tale of a young woman finding herself in performing arts, not to mention a young working girl making it amid the rich and successful, is familiar from both film and real life, but it gives a bit of warmth to the plot and the Cinderella-type character garners sympathy from the audience.

Though the plot is obvious by the end of the trailer, it doesn’t give too many details away. Except for the nuances of the plot — if there are any, which is difficult to see in two minutes—the trailer might show too much, defeating the purpose of seeing the movie in the first place. I lost count of all the death scenes, making me wonder if there are any we haven’t seen yet. Despite this, people still want to see the movie when it is released on May 9 of this year.

Despite the horror theme, the film doesn’t appear to take itself too seriously, probably a good thing since it just might be bad enough to be good. Its redeeming quality, or perhaps its undoing, is the unusual parody of genre. This film seems to have no regard for the constraints of genre, citing horror, musical and comedy in one movie. The trailer shows distinct scenes that would fit in these different genres, the joyful singing and dancing of a musical, the dry wit of comedy and the dark gore of horror.

The contrast between the light, comedic scenes and the dark, gory ones, serves to make the horror even more terrifying and the air of suspense even heavier, perhaps by the design of writer/director Jerome Sable (The Legend of Beaver Dam). Going from a musical scene into a horrifying death scene, you can’t help but wonder whether the characters’ insurance covers visits to an injury chiropractor. Despite the effect of the contrast, the Stage Fright trailer also leaves viewers a little bit confused as to whether they are watching a musical, a comedy or a dark horror flick from one scene to the next.

Overall, the Stage Fright trailer gives a good idea of what the movie is about, letting viewers connect with the characters a little bit while a masked, unnamed killer slaughters them one by one, but the scenes rush by so quickly that it’s hard to catch the details. The steady crescendo of the background music near the end of the trailer, and the long stream of gruesome murders, leads up to a disorienting climax that leaves viewers to wonder what just happened.

 

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Scott Huntington

Scott Huntington

Scott Huntington is a writer, reporter, blogger, and movie-geek. He currently lives in PA and with his wife and son, writing about movies and beyond. Follow Scott at @SMHuntington or check out his blog, blogspike.com