Movie Name: Starry Eyes
Studio: Snowfort Pictures
Release Date(s): March 8, 2014 (South by Southwest)
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Sarah (Alex Essoe) dreams of fame and success but instead finds herself trapped in a waitress job in Hollywood. When Sarah gets an audition for Astraeus Pictures’ The Silver Scream, Sarah thinks her luck might be changing. Unfortunately, the casting agents for The Silver Scream have different plans for Sarah, and for Sarah, fame might just be worth it.
Written and directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, Starry Eyes is a horror film. The movie was partially funded by Kickstarter and premiered at South by Southwest. The movie was fairly well received by critics.
Starry Eyes tells a classic story: the up-and-coming actress who must compromise herself to become a star. In this version of the tale, it is mixed with Rosemary’s Baby…with some success.
The idea of fame as evil is almost a parable here. Fame is bad and here to be famous, you have to get in bed with the Devil…literally. A movie with similar themes is Mulholland Drive (which did it so much better), but the idea is common…if a person is successful they must have cheated to get there. It was smart that they didn’t make Sarah a very good actress to carry this idea, but I also felt that the story was all build up with little payoff. It needed to play out a bit more before the ending.
Alex Essoe does a good job holding the movie together. She plays up the idea of the actress that wants it all and wants it fast. It is different I imagine for female actresses who have to grab the ring quickly or Hollywood shuffles them off in a corner. I do also like Alex’s snarky frenemies who are pretty backstabbing in the Hollywood scene.
I think the directors definitely have a style and would like to see more from them. The movie has a bit of gritty realism and feels a bit like a throwback to ’70s horror (which is some of my favorite). It is often dark (sometimes too dark), but it does have atmosphere.
I can say that I wanted to like Starry Eyes more than I did like Starry Eyes. The movie has its moments but feels long at the beginning and short in the parts where Sarah begins to change. I understand the idea of building suspense, but I didn’t feel that there was enough payoff before the ending. Maybe we’ll see a Starry Eyes 2 which shows Sarah’s fame.
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