Movie Review: Starry Eyes

Starry Eyes Poster

@TigersMS78 becomes suspicious of all film stars after reviewing Starry Eyes...

Starry Eyes sets it sights on the trials and tribulations of trying to break into the Hollywood acting scene, paranoia, bitchy friends and a dog eat dog attitude prevail – just the kind of atmosphere in which psychological horror breeds.

The film tells the story of Sarah (Alex Essoe) who after applying for every role and getting turned down and working part time, she starts to become disillusioned with her chosen craft until she gets a call back for a film called The Silver Screen. Sarah has this question put before her – What are you willing to give up, to have your dream? I won’t go into anything else beyond for spoiler-y reasons.

Writers and directors Kevin Kolsch & Denis Widmyer have created a great little nightmare of a film. Using the exploitative nature of the industry to make a film about - the industry exploiting a desperate person. However this has a terrific horror angle and in its own way is indeed a satire about the film industry. It’s a story that has been told before mostly as a drama film with people selling their souls for the celebrity lifestyle but not many of them have really visually captured this story and used this allegory so vividly. Kolsch & Widmyer ever so slowly turn the screws, throwing in some pitch black humour and chipping away at their main character as they go, before unleashing a wild third act that won’t be forgotten.

Alex Essoe in Starry EyesAlex Essoe is outstanding in this film – from start to finish; she absolutely and completely owns this film. Starting off as meek and possibly a little too naïve, her transformation throughout the film is just amazing. It is one of the best performances I have seen this year, totally committing to the film. The other actors in the film do a great job too, everyone playing their roles and basically forcing you to engage with the story. The synth score from Jonathan Snipes is fantastic, for some reason it gives the film a dirty, unnerving feel but at the same time it aides in building the atmosphere.

For a film that slowly becomes a body horror film, Starry Eyes delivers on this front, with the removal of loose fingernails, vomiting up worms and the like and whilst these moments were intimate thus making it more uncomfortable, however the third act delivers a different kind of horror - a bloody, brutal trauma that is as excessive as is it unexpected, including a sequence that even out does one of I Saw The Devil’s most notorious scenes.

Starry Eyes is a slow burning occult thriller that creeps up on you before kicking you in the teeth. The film works because of Alex Essoe’s brilliant performance and Kolsch & Widmyer’s measured and planned writing & directing. A film that has a somewhat bleak view of the film industry, in which rumours (or truths depending on what you believe) about it run the gamut from awful to horrifying which the film plays on and uses horror to push these rumours toward an even scarier place. Above all else it’s a great horror film - you should watch it.

Ryan Morrissey-Smith

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