Tuesday, November 25, 2014
STARRY EYES (2014)
Written & Directed By: Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer
Cinematography By: Adam Bricker
Editor: Brody Gusar & Dennis Widmyer
Cast: Alex Essoe, Noah Segan, Amanda Fuller, Fabianne Therese, Pat Healy, Nick Simmons, Shane Coffey, Maria Olsen, Marc Senter, Louis Dezseran, Natalie Castillo, Trent Haaga
A hopeful young starlet uncovers the ominous origins of the Hollywood elite and enters into a deadly agreement in exchange for fame and fortune.
The film started as a Kickstarter project and was aided by the support of author Chuck Palahniuk's ('Fight Club') fans. 100 donors to the project had their names thanked in Chuck's 2014 novel 'Beautiful You.' Co-writer/co-director Dennis Widmyer runs Chuck's official website and manages his social media.
This is a film i went into blindly and am all the happier because of it. The film really kept me off guard throughout and actually made me excited with anticipation until the end.
The film finds itself in many phases. I can say it changes genre every once in awhile, but more changes in genre within different horror genres. Going from psychological thriller, to conspiracy horror to body horror to slasher film to the supernatural. Though It starts off as more of a gritty drama about the hardships of trying to make it in Hollywood. That brings a certain reality to the proceedings. Then it becomes unsettling in a David lynch sort of way where things are quirky yet wholesome and just strange enough that you are wondering is it the atmosphere or the bizarre characters who are one note yet give stylistic energetic performances full of enthusiasm though dismissive.
There is a little David Cronenberg, a dash of Roman Polanski and a serving of David lynch, but this dish is flavorful and has a taste and flavor all it's own. --Once you think you have the film figured out it manages to surprise you.
The film seems set on providing an allegory about the seedy side of Hollywood and how far one will go to make it.
What I found interesting is that from the beginning her group of friends seems one way more competitive and cut throat except for one friend throughout the film they breathe some life to fully blossom a bit into characters who actually do care about the main character. Though earlier some were more shaded as her enemies. Though the film throws us off guard and makes us wonder if it was all in her had earlier. The film is smart enough to let us learn about them like we learn about her more through behavior and actions rather than just telling us.
It would also help the film a bit if for all this talk about how well know this film studio is yet we learn nothing of them Or their films. So while a scary conspiracy abounds it holds no legitimate weight as we know nothing of them nor their films. So it kind of takes an element that would be nice to have. Though seeing the extent of their power also works.
Towards the second half of the film. The film gets gory and violent at first it seems excessive and it is and stays that way. Though as the film goes along you can understand why it is happening and why it must be done.
It's rare that a film catches me off guard. This film quite charmed me with it's inventiveness. It's nothing typical. Yet in it's own way reminds me of some of the horror films of the 70's and 80's.
The film literally showcases the characters naked ambition to be a star, to be the center of everything. Even if she literally has to be broken down, struggle and earn the right to get her reward by not only sacrifice, but fighting for it through survival. She earns the right to be reborn and rewarded.
Production was denied shooting permission at a Los Angeles bar once the script was read and the material deemed "too evil."
I am quite sure some will easily dismiss it as a pretentious grindhouse type film. Though I found it quite impressive and love a film that keeps the audience on It's toes and requires their attention
I can't say it is any better then some other recent captivating horror, built earns a spot in the same breath and besides them.