The 27 Club (2019), A Movie Review

28 May

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Street date: June 11, 2019

Soundtrack includes original songs by Evante, Knox, Jürgen Engler (die Krupps), Geri-X and Todd Rundgren with Trent Reznor.

Not to be confused with the 2008 film of the same name, The 27 Club is a 2019 horror flick exploring the urban myth of why some rock stars died at a specific age. Patrick Fogarty (Legion of the Black) wrote, directed and edited this modestly budgeted work, and Maddisyn Carter played Lily, a singer-songwriter wanting fame. Her initial plucky naivety is charmingly cute. She learns about the world she’s in from student filmmaker Jason Reeve (Derrick Denicola), and it paves the way to making bargains with occult forces for fame.

Professor Crawford (Todd Rundgren) may well know more and the young lad makes the mistake of not investigating the right people. Had he played hero, he may have saved a soul than let another one in.

The mysticism involved is near John Dee levels. The boy is treading on dangerous territory, and as for what’s summoned, it has no name. The creature is no muse either. It can possess, and this mystery kept me interested in this film. Will the figure be identified? In literature, we all know who he is: Mephistopheles.

I loved how Fogarty made use of Dreamlike interludes with the ghosts of Jimi Hendrix, Robert Johnson, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison to move the narrative forward. Their poetic moments are the highlight, and I’m fairly sure this filmmaker intended Johnson’s forward to intone Wilson Pickett’s song, “Mustang Sally” (interpreted in a different context) to introduce Lily.

I’ve explored the history of the devil’s music (Robert Johnson specifically) years ago and Fogarty’s film only reminded me of what I learned then. The narrative was very engaging for those who know their folklore. While Jason knew exactly what I knew, I found it strange he did not warn Lily of the road she’s taking to fame. He is just as much of a victim as her. The kid was digging for the truth and what he has captured with his camcorder can turn the music industry upside down had this boy been smart, and reviewed the video camera sooner than later.

Despite knowing the outcome, Fogarty’s tale is a reminder to never take an easy solution in the road to success. He borrows from Marlowe’s classic work, where the chorus is simply replaced with members of The 27 Club giving us reminders of why they took the path of sin for fame. In what we are reminded of is in whether it was worth it. Thankfully, some work hard to achieve it and others, well….

4 Stars out of 5

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