15th Mar2015

‘Starry Eyes’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Alex Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Noah Segan, Fabianne Therese, Shane Coffey, Natalie Castillo, Pat Healy, Nick Simmons, Maria Olsen, Marc Senter, Louis Dezseran | Written and Directed by Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer

starry-eyes-dvd

What would you do to be a star? If you look at modern society it seems that people will do anything to get their fifteen minutes of fame.  Starry eyes is a film looking at the darker side of Hollywood, taking the audience into a fictional world where fame comes at a price that most would never dream of paying, but for those willing to go that far…the world is theirs.

Sarah (Alexandra Essoe) is an actress trying to get her big break in Hollywood, working in a dead-end job to make ends meet until she finally gets that chance though it seems a long shot.  When the audition leads to a call back things seem to be going well, but she soon finds to find the fame she dreams of she’ll have to enter a deal she isn’t comfortable with, and walks away.  Soon though she finds herself giving in and agreeing to do whatever it takes to get the part, at whatever the cost.

I’m a fan of David Lynch, and when the style of Starry Eyes screams Mulholland Drive it instantly caught my attention, they follow the same themes and in many ways touch on the same darkness within the movie culture of Hollywood.  The dark price of fame is a topic ripe for horror and it’s been used many times in films as the basis to explore how it can ruin lives and has the potential to chew people up before spitting them out with nothing.  Starry Eyes looks deeper, pulling in the concepts of old Hollywood and the cost of selling everything you are, including your life and soul to be a star.  Of course the question is, will it be worth it?

Starry Eyes is actually smart because it doesn’t connect what we see to something as well used as Satanism, though you could argue that it parallels to some of the modern cults that modern celebrities often connect with (I’ll name no names here).  It’s the idea of the select few having that power over who is a star or not that drives the story.  The idea of taking everything you are and destroying it to become reborn isn’t a good thing, but that can be the cost.  Starry Eyes in this way reminds me of classics like Rosemary’s Baby and The Mephisto Waltz in this way.  While they do touch on Satanism as a means to find success it seems more relatable these days that the cult of celebrity and what Hollywood represents is a much scarier and more powerful beast than traditional religion.

Like the movies I just compared it to Starry Eyes is a surreal and in many ways hits offbeat tones that most horror films don’t touch, which is one of the reasons I like it so much.  Looking at horror in its current form we don’t have enough movies that take the old school approach and look at the dark side of human nature like Starry Eyes does.  Sarah isn’t a bad person, but like many she’s a character who has found her way to Hollywood with the dreams of being famous.  She doesn’t accept the chance straight away, she does have her limits, but it is the world around her that pushes her to take that leap and to try and make something of herself.  As selfish as this may be, would you as a person be able to walk away from a chance to do what you always wanted?

Horror needs a good dose of adrenaline right now, and it is getting that in the form of films like Starry Eyes.  As an example of horror that is pushing the genre in a direction it seems to not go in anymore it is a good move.  Sure we can have our PG-13 money spinners that keep an interest in horror, but we also need these lower budget movies that are willing and able to take a risk and treat the audience with some respect and trust them to be intelligent enough to understand what they are seeing.  Genuinely creepy and deliciously surreal Starry Eyes reminds me of sub-genres that don’t get enough attention anymore…and that can only be a good thing for the future of horror.

***** 5/5

Starry Eyes is released on DVD in the UK March 16th.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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