Starry Eyes ★★★

This is one of those films that would have benefited from more and/and and less either/or.

Starry Eyes starts off as a slow burn, disconcerting thriller with an absolutely outstanding female lead. Alex Essoe owns this role. She gives life to Sarah in a nuanced and affectionate way, reeling in the sympathy of the audience with apparent ease.

The directorial duo manage to conjure up a fantastically creepy atmosphere in the first two acts, shifting from real life worries to the more intangible dread of the supernatural. The world Sarah inhabits feels real, the problems she faces as a young actress with a self centred circle of friends are relevant and tangible, providing a very interesting mix of almost satirical commentary on the state of affairs in the movie industry and some actual secular drama that works rather well, all covered in an atmosphere of 'something's wrong and lurking in the darkness'.

I was very interested in how this would resolve and play out, hoping for a continuation of said atmosphere. Alas. Kolsch and Widmyer shift their tone to satisfy the gore hounds. We are, after all, watching a horror film. God forbid we would have to do without some nasty bits. Such a shame. I can see how the final act would work out for others, for me it was an abysmal decision. It took me out of the film completely, trotting down that beaten path of dime a dozen horror movie final acts. I feel the first two acts deserved more as they seemed to lead up towards something special, only to end up being something we have already seen so many times before. Starry Eyes does itself a disservice.

Still, there is much to enjoy in its squandered potential, making Starry Eyes a solid, yet uneven effort.

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