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Review: Rock 'n' roll horror film 'High Voltage' suffers from low wattage

Review: Rock 'n' roll horror film 'High Voltage' suffers from low wattage
David Arquette and Allie Gonino appear in a scene from the movie "High Voltage." (SP Releasing)

Rock ’n’ roll horror movies have been around at least since Brian De Palma’s “Phantom of the Paradise” in 1974; but few have ever been that good. Writer-director Alex Keledjian’s “High Voltage” is no exception. Clumsy and corny, the film plays like a pat showbiz cautionary tale, half-heartedly reworked into lurid pulp.

“High Voltage” has two things going for it: Allie Gonino has the pipes to pull off the lead role, playing a shy chanteuse named Rachel who transforms into a dynamic diva after she gets struck by lightning; and Keledjian clearly understands some things about what it takes to be a working musician today.

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The story follows a burned-out middle-aged guitarist, Jimmy (David Arquette), who attaches himself to the talented Rachel and a promising singer-songwriter, Scott (Ryan Donowho). A successful old friend, Rick (Luke Wilson), warns them from the start that decent music alone won’t cut it. Rachel’s too timid, Scott’s too much of a family man, and Jimmy has no presence on social media.

The first third of “High Voltage,” which is mostly about rock, has some charm. Then Rachel gets electrified, starts killing people with her touch, and becomes a star. The picture gets goofy fast.

Modern trappings aside, this movie’s core message — that fame may not be worth the cost — is hardly a revelation. And none of the supernatural thriller elements are in any way exciting. If “High Voltage” were a record, it’d be headed straight for the remainder bin.

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‘High Voltage’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes

Playing: Starts Oct. 19, Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood

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