Movie Review - Starry Eyes

Movie Review - Starry Eyes

So, when we think of Hollywood and the film industry, we like to think that you need an in, or need to know somebody in order to get in.  Starry Eyes lets us know that this is not necessarily true, but if we are willing to perform some disconcerting acts of sadism for casting agents, we just might get our big break. Now I love the idea behind this film, with all its undertones of an unknown Hollywood Illuminati that lives by cult standards.  This is a hugely intense film with a very heavy buildup to a grand violent finale, although the film is incredibly predictable from the very beginning.  It uses its' low budget to its advantage, making it feel more genuine than a lot of the more violent big-budget blockbusters coming out these days.

The film is about an actress named Sarah, who is constantly going to auditions, while she works at her waitressing job, like every other up-and-coming actress.  She hates her job and wants to somehow fast track the auditioning process and make her big break, turning her nose up at indie projects she sees as below her.  She has a group of friends, some supportive and some who like to throw their mild success in her face.  Many of her friends try to push her towards starring in an indie film as the lead and she kinds snubs it to try out for a horror film she has just been called in to audition for.  Thinking of herself as this big shot going into the audition she realizes she's no different then the rest of the nameless actresses that walk through the judgmental halls of the casting room office building.  After being turned away from the audition she goes straight to the bathroom where she starts to flip out and literally tear her hair out, when one of the casting agents approaches her about wanting to see her redo her audition with the same ferocity of her bathroom 'performance'.  And from this point on, she spirals downward into a seedy world of perverted directors, creepy gothic mansions and shady production companies.  

The most wonderful thing about this film is the acting by actress Alex Essoe, who gives a squirm- worthy performance throughout.  You really have to admire an actress who is willing to actually put a handful of maggots in her mouth so she can vomit them up for a scene, just so they could avoid using CGI.  If that isn't impressive enough, she puts on a facet that causes you to doubt whether you could ever want to see someone like 'her' succeed, but then causes you to feel guilty for not rooting for her the entire time.  The madness she goes through, and the 'transformation' that she undertakes was mind blowing, making it impossible to avert your eyes from her, or the screen, for almost every single shot of the film.  There were points where I felt like the writing was lazy and the filmmakers were just trying to push the story forward enough to get to the interesting points but the acting keeps the script from getting too stale.  

Over all, this is a wonderful indie film with an ending that left my head spiraling, and few beautiful homage scenes that any true horror film will smirk at.  I feel like this is an instant cult classic and will get much more popular with time.

Grade:  A-

- Jarrett Furst

Jarrett Furst is a director, writer and producer who has loved films ever since he was young. He recently graduated from California Institute of the Arts and has been working in the film community since. Some of his favorite movies are Evil Dead (1981), Hellraiser (1987), and Oldboy (2003).