Review: ‘Starry Eyes’ [SXSW 2014]

Starry Eyes Poster

Starry Eyes | Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer | SXSW 2014


Living in Hollywood the wide eyed Sarah (Alex Essoe) dreams of making it big as an actress. She’s in her thirties, works a dead end job at a Hooters-esque restaurant, and comes home to the fake friends she’s forced to hang out with through her roommate Tracy (Amanda Fuller).

After a series of weird and creepy auditions, Sarah catches a break and lands the leading role of a big horror film titled The Silver Scream. She finally makes her dream come true. She’s so sure she’s made it that she quits her job, having enough of her irksome boss Carl (Pat Healy). Only, when she meets the producer of the film, she’s asked to go beyond the audition process to land the role. The old casting couch, if you know what I mean. Not only that, but the production company gives off satanic vibes. They say they can make Sarah a unstoppable movie star, making all her wildest dreams come true. Being too much to resist, Sarah gives in to their requests and embarks on a dark downward spiral totally consumed by the evil will to be the biggest star possible. Soon things get creepy and gory. Very gory.

Directed by the team of Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer (who also wrote the film), Starry Eyes is an interesting commentary on the price of stardom in the world of Hollywood. It has a classic 80s horror film vibe from the cinematography to the score.

The film is put on the shoulders of Alex Essoe in her feature film debut and she holds her own, and more. Horror performances tend to get overlooked in general, but there is no mistaking Essoe’s performances as anything but solid. She goes from a shy hopefully actress to a sinister beast by the films end, and it’s genuinely creepy to think about.

This is the second effort from Kolsch & Widmyer and it’s an encouraging one giving horror fans plenty to look forward to. It has something to say and it executes it well enough to get by.

6.8/10