Technically, the film is almost perfect and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.

by Nav Qateel

In only their second narrative feature, writer-directors Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, have really knocked one out of the park with their low-budget horror Starry Eyes. Starring the hugely talented Alex Essoe in her first leading role, Starry Eyes tells the story of Sarah, a rookie actress who’s chasing after her dream. When Sarah attends an audition but thinks she’s not getting the part, she goes into the toilets in frustration and starts to rip out her hair. This is witnessed by one of the grim casting directors and she’s asked to come back to try again, only this time, they want to see her have a fit in front of them. This is apparently what they’ve been looking for, and now Sarah has their full attention. After a second meeting with the creepy, heavily-tanned producer (Louis Dezseran), horrific changes start to come over Sarah as demonic forces do their thing with her body. Lucky them.

Sarah lives among a small community of actors and wannabe filmmakers, and as she gets closer to securing the starring role in “The Silver Scream,” the title of the movie, she starts to see them as beneath her. They’re just your typical group of twentysomethings who want to be discovered so they can finally quit their crappy jobs and concentrate on acting, but Sarah’s the only one who’s thinking big.

Starry Eyes
Written & Directed by
Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer
Alex Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Noah Segan
Release Date
14 November 2014
Nav’s Grade: B

She shares a small apartment with Tracy, who’s sympathetically played by Amanda Fuller. Tracy is usually quick to defend Sarah against the frequent snide remarks from Erin (Fabianne Therese), as she tosses something spiteful at Sarah, then always follows up with “What?! I was just kidding!” However, once the blood starts flowing, no one is safe.

Watching a relatively unknown actress play the role of a completely unknown actress who’s doing the audition thing, made me pay closer attention to the acting. She’s such a natural and gifted actor, and from what I’ve read about Essoe so far, it’s clear I’m not alone in being blown away by her performance. It was the way Sarah went from this quiet unassuming young woman, to an outright monster, and the transition was absolutely perfect.

One of my fave indie thespians, Pat Healy, plays Carl, Sarah’s boss at Hot Tatas, a fast-food establishmment. Carl is often caught giving Sarah’s backside a good looking over, as she and the other waitresses have to wear skin-tight, tissue-thin pants as part of their uniform. I was amazed at how different Healy looked with his ginger pornstach à la 1975, as it suited the 80’s vibe of the synth music.

The cast each nailed their respective roles, and DP Adam Bricker kept the camera interesting. I have to admit, when I see a lot of names attached to editing, in my experience it’s not a good sign. But my worry was for nought, as the editing, like the directing, was spot on. Technically, the film is almost perfect and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. If you enjoy horror that’s powerful as well as a bit out of the ordinary then Starry Eyes should be at the top of your list. Not to be missed.