Starry Eyes Movie Review
Written by Simret Cheema-Innis aka Wickergirl
Released by Dark Sky Films
Written and directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer
2014, 98 minutes, Not Rated
Alex Essoe as Sarah
Amanda Fuller as Tracy
Noah Segan as Danny
Fabianne Therese as Erin
Shane Coffey as Poe
Natalie Castillo as Ashley
Pat Healy as Carl
If you need a guide to becoming a successful actor in Hollywood, then you'll find much to think about in Starry Eyes, a dark film about movie life in Los Angeles.
Created by writer director duo Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmye, the film was funded via Kickstarter, cost $52,000 and was shot in just 18 days.
Starry Eyes looks like a fly on the wall documentary, a reflection no doubt of its meager budget, as it follows the dreams of a group of hopeful actors. Protagonist Sarah (Alex Essoe) finds it particularly difficult to live with her fellow actor friends. Coping with a stream of audition rejections makes the sun, sea and pool miserable places, reminders of failure rather than symbols of success.
Sarah's luck seems to turn when she is offered a role by leading film company, Astraeus Pictures. But the terms of her contract suggest a Faustian pact. And Astraeus Pictures is the cover for a mysterious cult.
The picture has one main flaw, the depiction of the cult. It doesn't match the satanic cults seen in many other movies, Rosemary's Baby and House of the Devil among them. It isn't entirely clear what the aims of the cult are. Having secured her soul, what happens next? To be fair it's a fault shared by similar movies. It seems a lot of trouble to secure one poor lost soul.
The real horror in Starry Eyes is Sarah's frustration at having to work at Big Tatas restaurant and possibly spending the rest of her days never making it as an actor. Add to that the aggravation of living with the most nauseating and pretentious group of friends you could ever imagine. As Jean-Paul Satre said, "Hell is other people".
More familiar horror does make its way into the story and Starry Eyes becomes a blood bath of a slasher movie. Supernatural elements come and go. There's a touch of vampire symbolism. And Sarah's strange metamorphosis as she begins to change into something inhuman. What it all means is not clear but that didn't stop me enjoying the movie.
Starry Eyes is a good film. The characters can be annoying but it provides a realistic view of the friendships and struggles that wannabe actors endure. It's also a grim warning about a special kind of devil that can only be found in the dispiriting audition rooms of the City of Angels.