The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Dave Grohl battles demons, literally, in the horror-comedy ‘Studio 666’

From left: Nate Mendel, Rami Jaffee, Pat Smear, Taylor Hawkins, Chris Shiflett and Dave Grohl in “Studio 666.” (Open Road Films)
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(1.5 stars)

It’s pretty obvious what the hook is for the movie “Studio 666,” a goofily lowbrow horror-comedy starring Dave Grohl and his band the Foo Fighters, set in a haunted house. “Hi, Dave Grohl,” says the chirpy Realtor (Leslie Grossman), greeting the genial, longhair rock frontman (playing a version of himself) as he arrives at the Encino mansion in which the film is set — and in which the band recorded their 10th album, “Medicine at Midnight,” under circumstances that Grohl has described as plagued by poltergeists.

“Hello, Foos,” she adds, breezily lumping together the rest of the main cast — guitarists Pat Smear and Chris Shiflett, bassist Nate Mendel, keyboardist Rami Jaffee and drummer Taylor Hawkins — under the collective taxonomy by which the average moviegoer will probably know the rest of them. Outside Foo fanatics, the bulk of the cast are not household names. Nor are any of the, um, thespians, as will become painfully obvious at times. And yet they are a likable bunch, in what comes across as a kind of home movie about a group of dudes trying to make an album while their band leader is plagued by writer’s block and the spirit of a deceased former resident who, before he killed himself, opened a portal to a demonic underworld.

If the idea of Dave Grohl — a nice and talented guy in real life, by all accounts — being possessed by a malevolent entity that has turned him into a dictatorial cannibal is enough of an elevator pitch for you, then rock on.

Rounding out the cast are a couple of ringers: Will Forte plays a restaurant delivery guy who is quickly dispensed with, in gory fashion, and whose cheesy special-effects-death will remind viewers of the low-budget slasher flicks of yesteryear. Whitney Cummings plays a neighbor and the love interest of Jaffee. Their fate, as is the case with most sexually aroused characters in films of this sort, is also sealed.

There is nothing surprising here, other than the cast, which replaces the typical adolescent victims of this sort of thing with grown men in their 50s and 60s (albeit ones who, based on circumstantial evidence, have never grown up). “Studio 666” is either a delightful lark or a mystifying waste of time: Your pleasure will probably depend entirely on how you feel about Grohl.

Dave — or at least the film’s version of him — is a monster. He instructs his band to play a song in the impossible key of “L sharp,” yet he is unable to find an ending to that song, which runs to more than 40 minutes.

Is “Studio 666” a great idea, a cute idea, a silly idea or a stupid idea? As Dave tells one of his bandmates, struggling to find the key of L sharp on his guitar, you’re getting warmer.

R. At area theaters. Contains strong bloody violence, gore, pervasive crude language and a sex scene. 108 minutes.