THE 27 CLUB / CERT: UNRATED / DIRECTOR: PATRICK FOGARTY / SCREENPLAY: JOE FLANDERS, PATRICK FOGARTY, MICHAEL LYNN / STARRING: MADDISYN CARTER, DERICK DENICOLA, ZACK KOZLOW, KALI COOK, TODD RUNDGREN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
If you’re even a casual music fan, chances are you’ll be well familiar of the eerie number of big-name talents who passed away at the age of 27. And now, the supposed curse of 27 is being further explored in Patrick Fogarty’s The 27 Club. Let’s take a look to see whether this horror offering is a rock ‘n’ rolling delight of a movie, or nothing more than a shlocky gimmick destined to for the bargain bin.
As The 27 Club opens up, we find a just-turned-27 rock star taken to the afterlife courtesy of some gnarly demon. That death? Well, that just so happens to conveniently fall in line with a documentary student Jason (Denicola) is putting together about the spate of musicians whose time came to an end at 27 years of age. Throw in Jason’s best pal’s girlfriend’s sister Lily (Carter) as a love interest – and, by chance, she’s a wannabe singer-songwriter – and you have the basic crux of the movie. Jason and Lily continue to delve deeper and deeper on the topic of dead musicians, unearthing a creepy and mystical book along the way as they find themselves intertwined in the sinister underbelly of the music industry. Sure, fame and fortune could well be around the corner, but at what cost?
Unfortunately, the real cost of the events of The 27 Club is paid for by the poor suckers who decide to give this one a watch. While the film itself is quite stylishly shot at times, the story, the performances and the special effects work at play are all, to be blunt, awful. The narrative on display here is full of inconsistencies and feels nothing if not bland and predictable (not helped by the cover art and Blu-ray/DVD home screen give away one major plot twist), and it ultimately becomes a chore to make it through the film’s 97-minute runtime.
In terms of positives, Maddisyn Carter and Derick Denicola have brief moments where they shine, but they’re let down by a dire script and a film that seems to trip over itself at every turn. As a hook, The 27 Club features cult musician Todd Rundgren in a supporting role, and the release even features the movie’s soundtrack on CD, but this really doesn’t add anything of note to the overall product. And then there’s the fact that The 27 Club suggests that those famed musicians – such as Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse – all passed away due to being tied to some demonic entity. Instead, the only demon tormenting so many of those stars was their own personal addiction problems. But, y’know, a shoddy, toothy demon makes for a better story, right? Err, nope.
The bonus interviews with stars Maddisyn Carter and Derick Denicola are actually pretty engaging, and the CD soundtrack is what it is, yet there really isn’t anything that could’ve saved The 27 Club from being an utter stinker when the basic fundamentals of its premise and screenplay were so poorly constructed to begin with.
Special Features: Interviews with Maddisyn Carter and Derick Denicola / Slideshow / Trailers / CD soundtrack