September 30, 2015

Starry Eyes (2014)

Tomorrow marks the beginning of "Shocktober" over at Final Girl's blog, which is a month-long viewing and reviewing of horror films available on Netflix Instant Watch. She has invited her readers to participate, watching the films along with her and reviewing them ourselves, then sharing links to our reviews in the comments section of her posts. That sounds fun! I don't know if I will be able to watch them all, but I'll do my best.

The first movie up to bat is 2014's Starry Eyes. I don't know how I'd never heard of this movie before. After I watched it, I did some research online and found that it has gotten a pretty positive reception all around. named it one of the Top Ten Horror Films of 2014. Interestingly, it was primarily funded via a Kickstarter campaign. I have mixed feelings about Kickstarter, but hey, whatever works.

So, here's our wannabe starlet, Sarah Walker. Sarah is a moderately talented aspiring actress, but entirely uncertain of her abilities and a tad unhinged. When things don't go her way, we see her pulling out clumps of her hair and throwing "tizzies" (as my MeeMaw would say). She seems sweet and naive on the surface, but there's a darkness to her. She is played flawlessly by the lead actress in the film, Alex Essoe, who apparently cried real tears and volunteered to put the worms in her mouth that her character later vomits out in the film. The following gif demonstrates my feelings about putting worms into one's mouth...

I'm not going to get all spoilery on this one, because it's still fairly new and if you are one of the Final Girl readers who hasn't seen it yet, I don't want to ruin it. But let me just give you the basic premise.
Aspiring starlet wants to be an actress. She won't admit it to anyone, including herself, but she is willing to do anything to make it big in show biz. At the first hint of acceptance during an audition for a movie called The Silver Scream, she quits her soul-eating job at theme restaurant Hot Taters and then both literally (though it's unknown to her at the time) and figuratively sells her soul to the movie industry. Via Satan, of course. Well, d'uh!

In order to be "reborn" into a famous actress, she first has to transform. And that's where things get gross, like seriously gross. I actually had to look away from the screen a couple of times. So, yeah, it gets pretty nasty.

And, naturally, there are some over-the-top murders involved. (I didn't know a cheek could squirt blood like that!) Does she make it into show biz? I won't tell you - you'll just have to watch. However, as viewers we do get some answers about Hollywood that make total sense. Like, does everyone who lives there worship Satan? Probably. I mean, seriously, how would you explain the Kardashians??

All told, I thought it was pretty good. But it was wholly uncomfortable watching our lead actress make terrible decisions and do some of the dumbest shit ever, so by the time she really starts suffering I didn't care too much about her.

What I really loved about this movie was the throwback vibe to the witchy and "satanic panic" films of the 60s, 70s and 80s. It had a very definite sense of reverence (even with the music) toward films like Rosemary's Baby, The Wicker Man, and To the Devil a Daughter.

I wouldn't watch it a 2nd time, but that is not a statement of it's worth. I wouldn't watch Twelve Years a Slave a 2nd time either, and it was amazing. Starry Eyes is just too dark and depressing to watch over again, but it was definitely worth the viewing and I highly recommend it to you guys. Go ahead and watch it, but have your fingers ready to the cover your eyes. I'm not kidding, it gets really gross.


Jeremy Hawkins said...

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WatchingTheDead said...

This one missed my radar too, but sounds like something I'd love as I'm a bit partial of the uncomfortable and disturbing. Great write up.