December 2, 2014

VOD Review: Starry Eyes (2014)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2793490/
(aka Worst Casting Couch Ever.)
Release Date: November 14th.
Country: USA. 
Rating: Unrated.
Written & Directed by: Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer.
Starring: Alex Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Noah Segan, Fabianne Therese, and Pat Healy.

Aspiring actors & actresses face plenty of real-life horrors in their day-to-day quest for fame & fortune, most of which would make for a compelling story on their own, let alone adding to them the idea that Hollywood is run by Devil Worshippers.

Starry Eyes is as much a bleak satire of Hollywood as it is a pure Horror movie, and maybe that's why it worked so well for us.

Sarah is a young & beautiful aspiring actress who will stop at nothing to make it in Hollywood. While her actor friends waste their time partying and making their own crappy Indie movies, she's going on audition after audition, hoping to land a big role. Of course none of those auditions ever go well for her, which makes her want to pull out her own hair in frustration. So she does. In clumps.

"THIS HAD BETTER BE GOOD NEWS. I JUST GOT A PERM."
Most of her wannabe actor friends support her in her quest for fame, in various ways: some by keeping her in a job (Pat Healy rules); others by offering her roles in their self-produced Indie movies; and all of them by telling her how pretty she is. Of course they're all a bunch of go-nowhere losers, but hey, so is she... she just doesn't want to admit it to herself. Because she's a special, unique snowflake, just like everyone else.

SHE DOESN'T NEED THEM. SHE DOESN'T NEED ANYBODY!
Sarah goes to audition for a Horror movie called The Silver Scream, which ends up going horribly, as per usual. The audition ends with her in the bathroom, pulling her hair out and crying, because that's just how she copes. The casting agents apparently like this dark side of her though, and so Sarah earns herself a series of callbacks, during which she's asked to abuse herself, get naked, and blow a 70-year-old man. That's Hollywood!

"MAYBE YOU ZUCK MY DICK, YES?"
To say anymore about the plot here would spoil the bulk of the movie for you, but suffice it to say that Hollywood is run by Satanists, there's always one backstabber in the crowd, and the end of the movie gets pretty messy for everyone.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SARAH.
For the most part, Starry Eyes is a moody, nuanced movie, that at many times felt like we were watching someone's surreal nightmares unfold onscreen. It's also a movie that takes its time getting where it needs to go, taking great care to show us the everyday travails and pitfalls of the average wannabe Hollywood actress, and the price that they must pay to achieve their dreams of stardom. Then, almost out of nowhere, the movie explodes into a twisted and violent final act that hit us like a right hook to the puss, and left us feeling a bit shell-shocked.

It was all pretty impressive and unsettling. Creepy, even.

Starry Eyes is anchored by the standout performance of Alex Essoe as the starry-eyed actress Sarah, who quite literally sells her soul to make it in Hollywood. Essoe goes to about 20 different places with her performance in this one, all of which she played perfectly.  Amanda Fuller and Noah Segan were also solid as Sarah's caring friends, and even though his part was a bit smaller than the rest, it's always good to see Pat Healy in anything. We also have to give a special shout out to Fabianne Therese for making us truly despise her character; we've always been a big fan of Fabianne's, so for her to make us hate her and wish her off of our screen is a testament to just how well she nailed her role in this one.

A SPECIAL SHOUT ALSO GOES OUT TO ALEX ESSOE'S TANK TOP, WHICH LOOKED SPECTACULAR ON HER.
We're pretty sure that Fabianne Therese's insufferable, catty, insecure, fake, shitty, backstabbing character was a generic representation of plenty of struggling actresses in Hollywood, but we really want to know who. Like, we want names.

OH MAN, SHE WAS SUCH A SNOTTY BITCH.
 
As a metaphor for selling your soul to achieve stardom, Starry Eyes really makes you look at Hollywood, and the lives that it has destroyed, in a far creepier light. We're pretty sure Tinseltown isn't run by Satanists or anything, but we're equally sure that it is run by a lot of skeevy bastards who may as well be The Devil, for what they make pretty young things do to jump-start their careers.

"IN HARVEY WEINSTEIN'S NAME, PRAISE SATAN!"
As relatively bloodless as Starry Eyes was for the first half of its runtime, it turned on a dime, and quickly became a disturbingly visceral gorefest in its back half, offering up one of the greatest bloodbaths that we've seen in quite some time. It really surprised us how graphic and gory the movie got all of a sudden, as we figured that it would end having been more of a straight-up psychological Horror movie than a visceral one. It was genuinely good stuff.

WELCOME TO HOLLYWOOD.
 
Alex Essoe gets naked and does some implied oral sex, and there's a disturbing kiss between two girls, but for the most part, Starry Eyes isn't very heavy on the sexy stuff.
 
WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER HAD THEY LOST THE BATHING SUITS.
The best part of the movie was when Sarah finally puts Fabianne Therese's asshole-of-a-human-being character, Erin, right in her place... which she does quite handily.

YOU HAD IT COMING!
Selling your soul to The Devil is absolutely worth it. Also, "Fallen Angel" by Poison would have been the perfect song to play over the closing credits.

FALLEN ANGEL INDEED.
Starry Eyes is one of those Horror movies that builds slowly and surely towards a climax that explodes with furious vengeance. It's also an interesting look into the Hollywood machine, and more importantly, into the mind of an aspiring starlet that will do anything to be a part of that machine.

If you're looking for a "smart" Horror film that delivers the gory goods while maintaining a certain level of sophistication, then give Starry Eyes a rent. It's definitely one of the better Horror movies of 2014, and it's a great watch.

B+

Starry Eyes is available now on VOD.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PCO69HW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00PCO69HW&linkCode=as2&tag=thehorclu0a-20&linkId=EVYXYMPXHJ2RE36I

The ladies of Starry Eyes absolutely made us starry-eyed with their sassy sexiness.

2 comments :

  1. awesome movie. i was completely surprised by how it developed - i had a feeling it was going to get boring but it really held my interest and sarah was perfect in the role.
    to be honest , the moment i saw gene simmons son in the movie early on , is when i thought it would suck , luckily he is only in a couple sequences early on.

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  2. Didn't even realize that was Nick Simmons, Howard. Nice catch.

    Very solid movie, and we were as surprised as you at how much we liked it.

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