Starry Eyes (2014)
Posted: by Findlay
Starry Eyes (2014); Directed by Kevin Kolsch/ Dennis Widmyer
In One Sentence: A young, aspiring actress gets a call-back for a part that demands more of her than just acting skills.
Why You Should Watch: Have you ever wanted, say, a Mars bar SO bad that you’ve pined and kicked and screamed and said “I’ll do ANYTHING for that Mars bar”? But then, you eat the Mars bar and you become really sick and you think “Oh man, I feel fucking awful, but I want more”. That’s kind of like what Starry Eyes is about.
Young acting starlet Sarah (played by the great Alexandra Essoe) is struggling in Hollywood with a crap job and awful vapid friends when she applies for a role in an upcoming film by an old faded production company. Essoe is such a great actress, she carries the film on her back so confidently that you can’t help but feel right there with her. Things start taking weird turns from the start as the company ask her to perform a fit wherein she rips out her hair amongst other things. From then, it just kicks into creepy and unforgivingly ominous territory.
And that’s one of the films main strengths. How ominous it is. What’s going on isn’t explained to you five minutes from the end so you can relax and feel comfortable. Everything is hidden in little visual flashes or some form of nasty body horror. Little instance of “Did I just see that? Is that right?” keeping you on your toes. Cults aren’t mentioned once, but it’s heavily implied. The purpose of this cult? Well. It’s not explained but you’re allowed to figure that one out with a brilliant final ten minutes really hitting some metamorphosis vibes. The whole film interestingly charts the transformation of a character completely, from sweet naivety to, well, a completely different monster altogether. It has the perfect example of the “Kill List effect”, where the start and end of the film makes you reflect and go “How the fuck did we get here?”
The films main theme is clearly ambition and the desire to succeed. How far would you go to be where you want to be? What would you be willing to do? A lot of direct correlations to Hollywood and the struggle of becoming an actor (even successful) running perfectly along side cults, death and buckets of blood. Pure intrigue.
This thing is bloody. Like, I scared my cat watching it because I screamed “JESUS CHRIST” with half a fucking sandwich in my mouth. The gore isn’t a staple throughout the film, but the usual horror trope of “the big pay off” is here and holy hell does it deliver. I won’t spoil it but there is a benchmark for 2015’s best kill already set.
I love a good title card and Starry Eyes is a classic example of a true title card. Plain black background, “Starry Eyes” in a 70’s gothic, cherry red font, year in roman numerals. Oh yeah baby. Nice.
The music is also delicious and really elevates Starry Eyes into a perfect blend of old horror tropes mixed into a new horror story and visual style. Pulsing retro synths, electronic howls, light piano tinkles all fitting well and delivering a pacing you feel familiar with but keeping you on edge.
I tell you much more without ruining that fresh edge you’ll get if you haven’t seen it.
The more I write about Starry Eyes, the more I’m realising how much I actually got out of it. New horrors are a hit and miss, but ones done with love and respect for the fans will always stick out like a sore thumb. Starry Eyes is one of them.
Plus Pat Healy is in it aswell! I love that wee guy.
Favourite Line: “Ambition, the blackest of human desires. Everyone has it, but how many act on it?”
Rating: 8/10 – Tom Cruise has totally had sex with the devil.