Sarah Walker (Alex Essoe) is a struggling actress who spends her days working as a waitress in a classless restaurant and going to auditions that she ends up failing. When she gets a callback to audition for a horror film called The Silver Scream, she finds herself having to participate in multiple strange auditions, each one more bizarre than the last. When she has proven that she is willing to do anything for the role, including stepping far outside of her comfort zone, she lands the lead role in the film. The film requires some unconventional things of Sarah and we watch as she transforms into a completely different person, which is something all-together terrifying.
Time Magazine’s comparison of Starry Eyes to David Lynch meets David Cronenberg is spot on. We get the mind melting metaphoric plot style of Lynch with the stomach churning gorefest a la Cronenberg. The combination is a brilliance I never considered until today.
During a callback that involved Sarah participating in sexual activity with the producer, Sarah agrees to give herself fully to the film. She agrees to let go of her old life and be reborn with new eyes that see the film’s vision and a new body that will allow her to speak that vision to the world. What she didn’t seem to realize was just how literal they were being in their request.
Rather quickly, Sarah transforms from someone sweet and innocent into a monster, both physically and mentally. The new evil inside her causes her to commit murder in the most horrible of ways, in what is Sarah unknowingly letting go of her old life. Her ambition has allowed them to change her. Her dreams to be a movie star have allowed something evil inside of her and when she is reborn, she is the image of demonic perfection.
In many ways, one might go as far as to compare the film to Contracted, the IFC release from last year but Starry Eyes was superior in execution. Contracted had the right amount of blood and gross but it was missing a worthwhile storyline, something that Starry Eyes delivers on tenfold. It is not a film that relies solely on gore or nudity but on the viewers’ ability to decipher the true meaning behind it all. In a true Mulholland Drive moment, the meaning of the entire film is even told to you, you just have to be observant enough to catch it.
Starry Eyes is a brilliant bloodbath of ambition, destined to be a favorite amongst horror fans this year.
Starry Eyes is available from Dark Sky Films on Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand February 3.
=========================================================================================================Ann Ann Hale is the horror editor for Pop-Break.com and a senior contributing writer, reviewing horror movies and television shows. She is also the American Correspondent for Lovehorror.co.uk and writer for Geekandstuff.com. Ann attended East Carolina University, majoring in English Literature. She is a collector of Halloween (the film) memorabilia and is a self-admitted opinionated horror nerd. You can follow her, her collection and her cat, Edward Kittyhands on Twitter and Instagram @Scarletjupiter