Starry Eyes

Critics Consensus

Starry Eyes pokes Hollywood's seedy underbelly to produce a refreshingly original horror story led by a breakout performance from Alex Essoe.

76%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 21

55%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,691
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Movie Info

In the city of dreams, a desperate actress will put it all on the line for the role of a lifetime... no matter what the cost. Determined to make it in Hollywood, aspiring actress Sarah Walker (Alexandra Essoe) spends her days working a dead-end job under the watchful eye of her patronizing boss, Carl (Pat Healy), enduring petty friendships with other struggling artists and competing actors (Amanda Fuller, Fabianne Therese, Noah Segan, Shane Coffey and Natalie Castillo) and going on countless casting calls in the hopes of finally catching her big break. After a series of strange auditions with a mysterious casting duo (Marc Senter & Maria Olsen) from famed production company Astraeus Pictures, Sarah finally lands the leading role in their newest film. The producer (Lou Deszeran) thinks she has a bright future ahead of her, but this coveted opportunity comes with bizarre ramifications that will transform Sarah both mentally and physically into something beautiful and terrifying. From Travis Stevens, the producer of Cheap Thrills and Jodorowsky's Dune, Dennis Widmyer & Kevin Kölsch's Starry Eyes is an occult tale of ambition, possession, and the true price of fame.(C) Official site

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Critic Reviews for Starry Eyes

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (6)

Audience Reviews for Starry Eyes

  • Jul 26, 2016
    The subtext may not be "sub-" so much as it is "overtly dickslapping you in the face", but it's still a worthy endeavour, a fantastic collaborative effort merging the classically darker side of Hollywood with 80's synth-driven Body Horror and the occult.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 01, 2015
    Stylishly made horror that mixes humour, gore and thrills with verve and panache and features a breakout performance from Alex Essoe.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer
  • Apr 06, 2015
    I do not know why but this movie reminds me of a mix between Contracted and Alyce Kills. The former was good and the latter was really good. I think the physical transformation of Sarah Walker reminds me of Contracted and the psychological effects of her actions as her psyche starts to unravel remind me of Alyce Kills. With that said, however, I think this film does manage to stand out on its own with a surprisingly interesting story, and I don't say that because it's a horror movie, about the pressures struggling actresses face in order to achieve their dreams. It's a story about the exploitation of women, not just in horror movies, but in the entire business. The sad thing is is that it actually hits on something that's very real. Goodness knows how many struggling actresses have gone through something similar, without the horror elements, as Sarah Walker went through to achieve their dreams. Or at least the idea that they could achieve their dreams. Because out of every 1000 actresses, maybe only 2 or 3 become successful. It's also disappointing in the sense that women in Hollywood have a much shorter shelf life than the men do. Because, sadly, women in this business are judged more for how they look and how young they are as opposed to how talented they are. Once you get past a certain age, if you are an actress, your stock has already fallen. That's not true for the men. Tom Cruise is still landing Hollywood blockbusters at 52. This isn't always the case as there are always exceptions to the rule. Not saying it's fair, because it isn't, it's just the way the business works. There's people like Meryl Streep, who's so fucking great, that she's managed to still land some pretty prestigious role just based on her reputation alone. But for one Meryl Streep there's a thousand Sarah Walkers, Sarah representing the dream of thousands of actresses. And I think this movie captures that desperation, that pressure, that ambition to succeed perfectly. The funny/sad thing is that Sarah Walker is obsessing over landing this role in, what will most likely be, a very low-budget horror film. She deludes herself into thinking that landing this role means that she is going to instantly be famous and all the, theoretical, success goes to her head immediately. Of course, this isn't particularly her fault as after she blows the producer of the film, that's when she starts acting strange and her health, both mental and physical, deteriorates greatly to the point that she pushes away all her friends who, for the most part, want her to succeed and to achiever her dreams. There's always one jealous person in the group, but I don't think it's purposely malicious behavior. The idea behind Sarah's mental and physical deterioration is for her to shed her old life and to embrace a new one. Once she does this, she will be 'reborn' so to speak. You know where this is heading. It ends up with Sarah gruesomely murdering all of her friends. I don't wanna say the film becomes a slasher, because it's not in the traditional sense. It may be violent but I believe there is a purpose behind it. Slashes, usually, have no reasoning behind it. It's also not done in order to entertain the audience. The violence in this film is pretty damn gruesome and disturbing in one instance. I think it highlights what Sarah will do in order to achiever her dreams. If you make the violence "entertaining" then the entire message is lost. It becomes muddled. With it being so unflinching, it makes Sarah's story and search for stardom even more convincing and fucked up. I will say that, for no one I've never heard of or seen, as far as I can tell, Alex Essoe, who played Sarah, was absolutely excellent here. While this was an independent horror film through and through, casting someone that was a relative unknown in the lead role was a struck of genius. It's definitely very meta-storytelling, but I think Alex Essoe did an absolutely excellent job here. She knew how to sell the physical and mental deterioration of this character in a completely believable manner. As far as I remember Najarra Townsend, the lead in Contracted, who undergoes an extreme physical transformation in the film, wasn't as good in her role, but the story was really clever. Jade Dornfeld, the lead in Alyce Kills, was actually a goddamn revelation in that role. I'm actually really sad that Jade hasn't found a wider degree of recognition in the indie film scene at least, because I thought she was tremendous. Alex Essoe isn't as good as Jade was in Alyce Kills, but Alex still does an excellent job with the role that she is given. She certainly made the most out of it and, hopefully, it leads to bigger and better things because I think she is an immensely talented actress. As far as this movie, I thought it was a great movie, in spite of not giving it 4 stars. I just think it's a uncommonly thoughtful and insightful horror movie. It offers a view, however distorted it may be, at how it must be to be a struggling actress in Los Angeles and how some people would do absolutely anything for fame. Of course, this film offers an extreme version of that, but I found this to be a smart, well-written and incredibly well acted horror film. This is an easy recommendation in my books.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Apr 05, 2015
    A solid movie that may be too violent and disturbing for a lot of viewers as it shows a nasty, grotesque view of Hollywood and ambition, and it makes the best use of a fantastic synthesizer score as well as an outstanding makeup and sound design that will make you writhe in anguish.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer

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