I don’t really pay attention to horror movie news as much as I used to so that when I see new films they’ll be a surprise to me. The more I age, the more I appreciate my experiences being completely my own. Unfortunately, most of the newer horror films I’ve seen recently seem to be regurgitation of the past. Such is the case with Starry Eyes, a psychological horror flick about a young starlet willing to sell her soul to be a star.
Alex Essoe plays as the young starlet who is very determined to become the lead in the upcoming horror film The Silver Scream from the studio Astraeus. Essoe’s role calls for her to go through the emotional wringer and through a very brutal transformation from troubled girl next door cutie into the vicious “will do anything to get ahead” villain. The poor girl is surrounded by “friends” who want to undercut her successes except for Tracy (Amanda Fuller, Red, White, and Blue) and an upcoming director who lives out of his van Danny (Noah Segan, Looper). Her isolation pushes her into Astraeus’s sinister clutches as she goes through a series of degrading and trans-formative (both psychological and later physical) auditions. What’s interesting is how much Starry Eyes, much like it’s fictional film The Silver Scream, is a dream role for an actress. Alex Essoe isn’t quite up for the emotional weight the film calls for, but she does do a very admirable job all things considered.
A girl giving up her soul for fame isn’t the most original idea; however Starry Eyes twists the idea a bit by combining it with the Lovecraft mythos. A predictable story is completely forgivable if it’s well told, and for the most part Starry Eyes is. The film is a slow burn, however I didn’t feel it was badly paced. Also, I loved the sense of other worldliness the strange and subtle yellow/greenish tone of the color palette and found it very fitting for invoking a story about a cult worshiping an Old One. The plot kind of fizzles out at the end when it becomes a bit of a slasher flick, but the gore effects are amazing and there is a kill that will please horror fans. One of the things I felt was missing from the film was a more fleshed out story for the sinister Astraeus Studio. I understand the reasons the studio is regulated to the back-burner being that this is Sarah’s story. I do feel that In conjunction with Sarah’s closing story arch, more about the cult should have been revealed. I understand the need for ambiguity but the way this was handled indicated their ultimate motivation for a possessed starlet was just as much a mystery to the writers as it is to the audience. Though Starry Eyes has it’s short-comings and lack of originality, it is worth seeing. Writer and directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer have a very old school mentality and Starry Eyes gives the promise of a very bright career for the two.
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