“Starry Eyes” (2014)

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By Jerome Reuter

There’s an old expression, “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” That’s the theme behind the 2014 film, Starry Eyes. Several people recommended it to me, and everyone I talked to had only good things to say. After giving it a view a few weeks back, I feel it deserves all the praise its received. I thought it was a good horror film, and only a few steps away from being a great one.

In recent years, a lot of new filmmakers have been trying to recapture the essence of the grindhouse era. This is a very complicated thing to do. It’s a challenge to produce a product that is both a throwback, and at the same time an original product. It’s also a challenge considering how much the social climate has changed since the 1970’s and 80’s. A lot of times, horror reflects the current time period. An average movie goer might not appreciate the throwback element, the same way a long time horror fan would.

The film centers around a young aspiring actress named Sarah. She’s your typical wet blanket personality, stuck in a dead end demeaning job, and surrounded by friends who do nothing but hinder her ambitions. Her luck seems to change, when she gets the opportunity for a possible big break. She has a chance to be in a film called “The Silver Scream” (silver screen, pun haha). Run by a mysterious production company, which only recently have come back into the fold.

This is one of the subtle things about the film that I appreciated. This is a plot device that seems to poke fun at the resurgence of old VHS distributors, such as Wizard and Gorgon video. However, I honestly feel the ship has long sailed on the Satanic cult film. It’s a theme that could be done effectively today, but here it just seems a bit out of place.

The interesting aspect of the film are Sarah’s psychological and physical degeneration. These are displayed by erratic behavior, and open acts of hostility. The use of wardrobe to display character arc is also well executed. This is an old technique that was used in the early days of technicolor films, and is still in use today. The actress playing Sarah, Alex Essoe did an amazing job pulling the role off. One of the many,many elements that made this a really good horror film. I also greatly appreciated it’s backhanded slap in the face to Hollywood, and big budget studio productions.

However, there was one flaw I couldn’t overlook. The film suffers from a lack of suspense. This is an element that can make or break a film. With so much done so well, I feel this is the one flaw, that kept it from being a great film. Some people might be more than willing to overlook this, consider it a personal peeve. I feel thats what separates this from House Of The Devil.

Despite it’s flaws, I still feel it’s one of the better horror films to come out in recent years. I’ll take this over a new Saw or Paranormal Activity installment, any day of the week.

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