Hollywood is a hard world that chews you up and spits you out unless you’re prepared to sell your soul for fame and Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer the writer and directors of Starry Eyes have decided to make a horror that shows this process first hand.
Sarah (Alex Essoe) is a starlet desperate to make it big in La La Land Working in a misogynists dream fast food joint named Big Tatters for an awful boss (played by Innkeepers and Cheap Thrills Pat Healy) she spends every spare second auditioning in an attempt to achieve her dream of being a true Hollywood legend like the many glamourous icons that adorn her bedroom wall.
Taking a chance on an advert for a horror movie named Silver Scream she heads for the audition striking out immediately when the strange and intense casting directors take one look at her and kick her out. Distraught and enraged she heads to the bathroom where she breaks down self-harming and screaming at herself for failing.
However her freak out is witnessed by one of the production people who ask her to come back and audition again except this time they want to see her repeat the abuse and anger she displayed in private something she is uncomfortable with until they tell her it is exactly what they are looking for.
Obeying their wishes Sarah strikes out on a dark and disturbing journey that will push her mind, body and soul to the limits truly testing what she will do for stardom.
Well-made, well-shot and well-acted Starry Eyes was very well received at FrightFest however its major failing is its complete lack of innovation and extremely obvious story line that is painfully predictable even from the opening.
This makes the movies build up dreadfully boring and although Alex Essoe gives a fine turn you simply don’t care enough to stick around for the gore filled carnage that the movie culminates in no matter how good the make-up and special effects are and they are very good.
What makes it worse is it seems Kolsch and Widmyer seem to believe they are doing something cleaver and original whereas stories of the greedy and the needy selling their souls to Satan for their hearts desire have been around forever most famously in the form of Faust which is from the 1400’s and there are tales even older than that.
Desperately attempting to be arty Starry Eyes is reminiscent of Rob Zombie’s far better The Lords of Salem in its look and structure and due to the films annoying familiarity it also seems to draw heavily from multiple sources from Phantom of the Paradise to Death Becomes Her to Rosemary’s Baby to Eyes Wide Shut to all sorts of other much better films ultimately failing to have its own identity mainly due to the clichéd and heavy handed story line.
I am sure some people will love Starry Eyes as they did at FrightFest and it is true to say we live in a celebrity obsessed society where people will do anything to be famous but unlike the recent 13 Sins Starry Eyes brings nothing new to the debate putting its pitifully simplistic point across with the subtlety of a shit covered sledge hammer.