Occasionally, while treading through the sludge that studios have been passing off as horror films, I come across one that knocks my socks off. I hate to admit it, but most of my time searching through the hours of potential greats, is more often than not a very disappointing journey. I do, however, get to see some really fantastic films that dare to go against the grain. The two writers/directors, Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, have created a film unlike any other in Starry Eyes.
I was enthralled by the lives of the characters on the screen within minutes; I felt as if these were real people in a real world. Most are disgustingly sinister in even the simplest of scenes and I truly believe an honest human characteristic is captured. This film captures the condescending, arrogant ways of American youth, especially those who feel entitled or believe they are something special without ever actually doing, or proving their worth. Amidst the chaos is Sarah (played wonderfully by Alex Essoe) who is a struggling actress with dreams of the big screen. She wants so badly to make it in film and out of the mundane job in fast food she has acquired, that she is willing to do anything it takes. Her friends appear supportive, but it’s obvious none of them have their lives figured out and some even openly criticize her for the choices she makes. This plays such an important role in the film and deserves attention.
Sarah is a person with a good heart and takes every blow that her friends dish out and every rejected role, as a person in the real world would. She holds in her anger, which serves as the boiling point in the film. Once she decides that becoming a star is the most important thing to her, she is asked to sacrifice her old life for her new one.
I loved watching the progression of Alex Essoe’s character throughout the story. She transforms from a shy girl, chasing her dreams, to a grotesque shell of her former self. I would recommend this film to any fan of Cronenberg’s work; certain Stephen King titles come to mind, as well. This is not a typical horror film, this movie builds and builds until you can’t take it anymore and hits you with a sledge-hammer!
Starry Eyes comes out today, February 3rd via Dark Sky Films. Feel free to check it out and tell them Repulsive Reviews sent you!
I give this film 4 auditions out of 5.
If you look at any of the big horror sites’ top ten lists of 2014, you’ll notice a whole bunch of repeat titles. One of those titles is Starry Eyes, directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer.
I’m not totally convinced that I understand the hype surrounding this film. As I’ve mentioned in past reviews, I seem to have a hard time when it comes to finding deeper meaning in any form of entertainment, film or otherwise, and am usually only focused on the mere surface of something, for whatever reason. This is where the problem lies.
On the surface, Starry Eyes is a film about a young actress who would do anything to make it big in Hollywood. Failed audition after failed audition, Sarah is forced to keep her job at a local fast food restaurant, in order to pay the bills. After another audition where Sarah thinks the casting directors have actually made fun of her, she thinks it’s just another failed attempt to add to the list. Naturally, Sarah is ecstatic when she receives a call back for the role. Once she is invited to meet the producer, however, she quickly realizes that this is no ordinary callback and she must give up a lot more than just her day job for this to work.
After Sarah finally breaks down and does whatever it is that the strange producer wants, she begins to go through some very odd changes, both mentally and physically. The changes that occur, along with the entire look and feel of the film actually reminded me a lot of Contracted. The deteriorating transformations that Sarah goes through are very reminiscent of those that lead character, Samantha, went through in 2013’s zombie flick. This is where the confusion came in for me though…
I understand that Starry Eyes is supposed to be some kind of metaphor for someone basically selling their soul to get what they want in life, which in this case, was fortune and more importantly, fame. I didn’t come to this realization until after the movie was over, however. I was so enveloped in what was going on in front of me that I didn’t have time to think of a deeper meaning. Is Sarah turning into a zombie? Oh wait, no, she’s bald now… is she an alien? I had no idea what the hell was going on the entire time.
I’m not sure what I was expecting going into this film, but it was certainly more than I got. Perhaps only watching films for what they present on the surface is naive of me, but I’m sure there are a lot of people who are very similar to me in that regard. Otherwise, I thought the film was very good. The acting was spot on, the effects were great (when things got gory, they got GORY!!!!), and the overall look and feel of the film were outstanding.
Rottin’ Roger loved the film and me, well, not so much. Suffice to say, your opinion can go either way. Give the film a watch and let us know what you think in the comments below!
I give Starry Eyes 2.5 jealous friends out of 5.