Starry Eyes (2014) Review: Hollywood Hell
“All dreams require sacrifice.”
Synopsis: A hopeful young starlet uncovers the ominous origins of the Hollywood elite and enters into a deadly agreement in exchange for fame and fortune.
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Ludwig von Stroodle:
An all-too-familiar story of an aspiring young actress falling victim to predatory Hollywood executives – except in this case the movie studio is run by demonic cultists. The premise is a bit outlandish, but given the recent news from Hollywood, it’s possibly less evil than the reality. Starry Eyes sounds like it should have been ridiculous low budget B-movie, but everyone involved did a fantastic job and made this into a terrifically grueling piece of psychological horror.
Alex Essoe‘s performance as the ambitious Sarah Walker is exceptional. You wouldn’t think it would be too hard for an actress to play a role as an actress, but the range she covers is truly impressive. Very little time is spent on the cult (which is for the best, since the idea is a bit silly); the entire movie is focused on Sarah’s transformation and she’s completely convincing at every stage of her downward spiral. That said, this movie is definitely not for everyone. There’s some very awkward moments, including sexual abuse – which, though relatively mild and not at all graphic, is still incredibly uncomfortable to watch. (Side note: you know the filmmakers did a good job when you can watch a beautiful woman in her underwear and all you can think is “No honey, put your clothes back on!”)
Sarah steals the show, but the makeup and effects teams are close runners up. They manage to take a lovely young lady and do her up like Gollum with syphilis. (It’s a shame, but it needed to be done.) The score is also excellent: it’s all ’80s and ’90s style synthesizer music, which is the second best category of soundtrack music after ’80s pop. The cinematography was also interesting without trying too hard or being distracting.
The movie passes through three phases: the first is mostly Scott’s Tots levels of uncomfortable and awkward; the next is top notch body horror; and the finale is a bloodbath. It’s an odd combination, and parts of it are likely to put a lot of viewers off, but it all comes together to make a very memorable* film.
*I’d say “enjoyable,” but that probably isn’t the right word.
Ludwig von Stroodle’s Rating: B
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