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Starry Eyes

Canadian Premiere
  • USA
  • 2014
  • 98 mins
  • DCP
  • English
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Hosted by Co-Directors/Co-Writers Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch

WINNER: Director's Choice Award for Best Feature Film, Boston Underground Film Festival 2014
Official Selection, SXSW 2014
Official Selection, Stanley Film Festival 2014

“Gross and dark and frightening and fun and smart… the kind of movie that is too rare these days” - Meredith Borders, BADDASS DIGEST

Sarah Walker is one of the hundreds — maybe thousands — of young women living in Los Angeles, dreaming of stardom, but whose waking life depends on making a living doing something much more menial. In her case, it means working at a tacky Hooters-esque joint called Big Taters (“A Family Restaurant”) while she goes out on often demeaning auditions, and in between commiserates with friends harbouring similar ambitions — or, some might say, delusions. Then she gets what looks like a big break: a once-popular fright-film factory called Astraeus Pictures is aiming for a comeback with a new project called THE SILVER SCREAM, and is seeking the perfect leading lady. When Sarah arrives to read for the role, it turns out to be a classic casting-couch situation, and in its aftermath, she goes to the bathroom and literally tears her hair out. An assistant witnesses this act, and invites her to audition again — only this time, she should truly tap into her evident violent side. Sure enough, she gets a callback — but how deep into her personal darkness is Sarah willing to reach to land the part?

Taking anything-for-fame obsession to its extremes, STARRY EYES rings true in its observations about the desperate side of the movie biz, even as it extrapolates upon it to horrific ends. Writer/directors Ken Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer have been toiling on the filmmaking scene for over a decade (their debut was a documentary on cult author Chuck Palahniuk of FIGHT CLUB fame), and there’s a sense that they’re bringing at least a touch of personal experience to the dreamers and big talkers in Sarah’s circle. Two of her most prominent pals are portrayed by familiar genre faces Amanda (RED WHITE & BLUE) Fuller and Noah (DEADGIRL) Segan; Pat Healy, from THE INNKEEPERS and producer Travis Stevens’ CHEAP THRILLS, brings an unexpected sympathetic side to Sarah’s boss at Big Taters. Sarah herself is compellingly enacted by Alexandra Essoe, who drops hints throughout that our heroine is unhinging herself by plunging headlong into the demeaning depths of Tinseltown. Once she arrives at her desired destination, it is, unsurprisingly, not what she bargained for, and sends STARRY EYES careening from a study of psychological corruption to a full-on horror show. A chilling examination of the grisly fallout when a soul-corrupting industry seizes upon a soul that has already begun to fester from the inside.

— Michael Gingold