Starry Eyes: Movie Review

starry eyes - poster

Sarah has a simple dream: work hard and make it to the silver screen.  After all, who wants to work at Big Taters – a less classy version of Hooters – forever?  She will do whatever she can to make her dream come true.  What’s wrong with that?

Everything.  Everything is wrong with that.  Children, listen to me: having dreams is admirable, and you should all have them.  But if making those dreams come true means willingly signing up to be a part of a Satanic success cult, then you should probably re-think those dreams.  Maybe scale it down a notch.  Is Big Taters really so bad?
(Kids, don’t work at Big Taters.  Please.  There is a middle ground between “Satanic cult” and “Big Taters,” and it is your job to find it.)

Not pictured: your dreams coming true
Not pictured: your dreams coming true

Most of her friends are terrible and are either ambivalent about her goals or actively attempting to sabotage her.  She gets an audition for a horror film called The Silver Scream and desperately wants the part, even though their demands during the audition process – pull our your hair in front of us, take off your clothes, bang this old dude, etc. – are increasingly insane.  All of these demands are spoken in the same flat, unfeeling tone, which makes them all the more chilling.  They seemed to say, “It doesn’t matter to us if you do this or not.  If you don’t want to do these things, someone else will.”

starry eyes - audition 2

Eventually, Sarah begins physically deteriorating and it becomes obvious something is going on behind the scenes.  She is left with a choice: continue down her path to stardom no matter what it takes, or pull back and try to regain whatever is left of her life.

starry eyes - sarah & producer
I liked this movie quite a bit.  It’s not one that I can say I enjoyed – there were some extremely uncomfortable scenes that can’t be classified as “enjoyable” – but it is one that I walked away from being impressed with.  I was kept off-balance for the vast majority of the movie, never quite sure what was going to happen next, or who I was even rooting for.

starry eyes - jump in pool
Alex Essoe is tremendous as Sarah.  She is able to pull off sympathetic and terrifying, sometimes in the same moment.  She’s amazing and she should be in everything.  (She was also in one of the best segments of the middling anthology, Tales of Halloween.)

starry eyes - sarah sitting outside

The rest of the cast played their parts admirably.  I was a huge fan of Fabianne Therese’s Erin, Sarah’s horrible “friend.”  She was a terrible person and she made me smile.  Pat Healy shows up as the beaten-down manager of Big Taters, creepy mustache in tow.  Those are the two that stood out – mainly because I recognized them – but everyone was great.

starry eyes - carl
This is a well-crafted, creepy, unnerving movie.  There aren’t many slow moments.  And, while there were times when I thought I knew what was going to happen next, I was never fully sure of that feeling.  If you’re looking for a dark tale about “making it in Hollywood,” with a healthy heaping of body horror, throw this on.

Rating: 4/5