Overlooked Film of the Week- #94
After twenty or so years of being a movie fan, and loving every genre equally. I have found that no filmmaker creeps me out the most than David Lynch. I have discussed his movies on this blog in the past, plenty of times. I am sure I will in the future as well. He's a guy that doesn't play the hype game, and the way he avoids is just as creepy as the films themselves. He is not about getting you with a boo scare, and intentionally tries to scar you for life, which has made his movies so horrifying.
"Starry Eyes" plays like 1980's style David Lynch movie. A "Exorcist" style film, right down to its font and opening credit stylization, for the psychological horror fan. It is a movie that also seems to have a lot on its mind. It is a movie that digs deep into the world of fantasy, and digs even deeper into the reasons why we put so much anxiety on ourselves for the need of success. This movie also made me think of "Black Swan" which came out back in 2010. I am not sure that whether or not you can put so much anxiety on yourself that you begin to hallucinate, but that does not really matter to me, that is a movie that gets under my skin every time. "Starry Eyes" plays with the same ideas of wanting to be successful, about chasing down your dreams, and the harsh stress that can put on an individual.
Alexandra Essoe plays Sarah, a twenty-something woman who is aspiring to be an actress. She goes on an audition every now and again, but mostly works at her fast food job and spends time wasting away with her friends who also want to get famous. A big audition comes up and she is so nervous that she doesn't think it goes well. She goes to the bathroom afterward and has the most disturbing breakdown when she is interrupted by one of the casting directors. Seems the casting director liked her little bathroom tantrum and wanted her to go back to the audition room for more time. Sarah gets called back for a second audition, where she is told to undress, while hesitant she agrees. Eventually the audience comes to realize that this isn't an audition at all, but something much more similar.
The film kind of plays like a mixture between David Lynch's "Inland Empire," "Black Swan," "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Fly." It reminds me of "Inland Empire" because the movie plunges us in a darker side of Los Angeles, and shows a much sinister side of the making of movies. It reminds me of "Black Swan" because the movie re-enforces the idea of how the desire for success can cripple us and turn us into people we don't recognize when we look in the mirror. It reminds me of "Rosemary's Baby" because all of the horror aspects of the movie are surreal, disorienting and it all revolves around this freaky, demonic cult. It finally reminds me of "The Fly" because Essoe's Sarah deteriorates severely throughout the running time and its amazing that Essoe was game to do the things she does in this movie. Its remarkable how one actress can go from shockingly good-looking to shockingly terrifying within an hour and thirty-five minutes. What's worse is that Essoe is so talented that we feel every bit of her deterioration and it is quite frightening.
"Starry Eyes" is a movie that plays up its mood and atmosphere. Some parts may not make the most logical sense, but sometimes, the best horror films work because they trigger something primal inside all of us, not because of their mesmerizing logic. I can tell you that Maria Olsen (who plays the casting director) and Louis Dezersan (the "producer" of the movie Sarah is auditioning for) were cast simply because of how creepy they look. The film never once tries to shake you with the classic "boo" scare. Everything about this movie is trying to affect your emotions, your feelings and your humanity. There is no easy road in this movie, which is why its so scary.
Definitely check this one out horror fans, you surely won't regret it.