Cover Versions Review
Today, the new movie Cover Versions came out today on Digital starring a multitude of stars: Katie Cassidy from CW’s Arrow, Drake Bell and Jerry Trainor, best known for their work on the iconic Nickelodeon shows, Drake and Josh and iCarly, Jessie‘s Debby Ryan, and Taylor Swift’s younger brother, Austin Swift among others.
The movie is a murder mystery that tells of a band called Starfoxy at a popular music festival recounting the night before that ultimately ended in an unfortunate murder. We look at the same day and night through all four band members’ point of views: the lead singer, Jackie (played by Katie Cassidy), the band’s newest keyboard player Kirk (played by Austin Swift), Travis the drummer (played by Jerry Trainor), and lastly, lead guitar player Byron (played by Drake Bell). The story starts out simple: the band goes to the music festival, they have a party at the house they’re staying at, and it ends with a dead girl floating in the pool by the time morning comes. Now for anyone who’s planning on seeing this movie without being spoiled, I’d suggest stopping here because I’m about to drop all the spoilers for this movie.
Through all the different point of views, we find small differences in idiosyncrasies because they make themselves look better than they actually are. It’s not until we hear Byron’s retelling of the last 24 hours that we fill big gaps in the story. This band really wants to get a record deal and are willing to do just about anything to do it. Including killing their newest band mate for his demos.
Apparently the real talent in this band, at least in the songwriting department, is Kirk, the keyboard player. Only problem is he’s leaving the band, taking all of those songs with him. So the rest of the band members concoct a plan to fake an overdose by switching out Kirk’s cocaine with something that’s so pure it’ll kill him. And they figure this’ll work because Kirk’s also apparently a pretty hard partier. But I still don’t get why they felt the need to kill Kirk. There are plenty of successful bands out there that don’t write their own songs. They just hire songwriters to do it for them. Yes, Kirk was their good songwriter but killing him still seems a little extreme.
Then the story gets messier when Kirk brings home 3 girls he met at the liquor store and those girls invite more of their friends, making it a full-on party. But there’s another twist that both Byron and Travis aren’t aware of. Jackie has another hidden agenda. But first, let’s take it back a little. After finding out about the impromptu house party (i.e more people equals more potential witnesses), Byron freaks out and switches the drugs back to what they were before. But everyone else at the party gets knocked out because the girls aren’t just here to party.
Turns out that these girls that came with Kirk are actually working with Jackie. To rob this house. But because Byron switched the drugs back, the girls end up taking the harder drugs from Jackie’s guitar case (thinking it was just coke), thus causing Maple (Debby Ryan’s character) to end up face down in the pool and the other two girls crashing in a fatal car accident.
So, they’re pretty much all guilty except for Kirk: all of varying degrees but guilty nonetheless. So Kirk is the only one who gets off scot-free and the rest get arrested. The twist of things was interesting but it’s still unclear if the puppet master of it all was Jackie or her husband, Noah because the girls say that it was his idea. It’s also unclear whether or not Noah and Byron are having an affair or if Noah’s just stringing him along or something along those lines. There’s one scene in the movie where Byron calls Noah to tell him that the plan is off and he’s not okay with going through with killing Kirk anymore and Noah assures him that this is the only way they’ll get their record deal. Then Byron agrees, or at least pretends to agree with him, and says “love you” before he hangs up (and proceeds to switch the drugs back to what they were before). Whatever it is that’s between them is at the very least suspicious but Noah doesn’t end up getting arrested in the end either so, it definitely stands out as a big plot hole to me.
But besides the Noah plot hole, the lip singing also kind of bothered me. The music video they play at the beginning of the movie was okay, mostly because it’s expected in a music video. But it was pretty clear when Jackie and Kirk sang the same song by themselves at different points, that they were lip singing. But it wasn’t because the actors were bad at lip singing. It was because the singing voices didn’t really match the actors: Katie Cassidy’s singing double had a singing voice that was a lot lower than hers whereas Austin Swift’s dubbed singing voice was a little closer to his actual voice but it still wasn’t convincing enough.
But either way, Katie Cassidy makes for a great villain and she always has. Whether she’s playing Ruby in Supernatural or Black Siren from Arrow she’s always been great at playing both ends of the spectrum which kept me guessing because she certainly started out as being pretty innocent.
Samantha Nguyen covers entertainment news for MFST. You can follow her on Twitter @sngyenthai