This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Locke.’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Whether you want to call it the best film David Cronenberg didn’t make or Black Swan… only good Starry Eyes is a flawlessly executed, terrifically paced and – if the almost endless accounts are to be believed anyway – an incredibly on point satire of the real life horror film that is Hollywood, with all of its filth, sleaze, exploitation and dream shattering. Well, if you are a young naive hopeful trying to win the system honestly, anyway. Those gore moments… God damn, even as a hardcore horror fan, I still found myself exclaiming, “holy fuck!” at just how brutally gruesome the film climaxes. Oh, and the score is incredible.
The films centrepiece though is not anything I’ve just mentioned but in fact their lead actress, Alex Essoe who is in charge of being the avatar for the audience while we go through a metamorphosis together. While it’s always difficult to separate the lines between performance and special effects and I guess even harder for the actors to try and put in great performances with the worry that they’ll be outshined by the effects work to the point where it may even make their work seem irrelevant, she still goes above and beyond in truly selling the horror and physicality of her rebirth. I suppose it certainly helps her that her character is written in such a way that it isn’t just some generic “innocence lost” arc, but more a disturbed woman indulging in the darkness already inside her.
Bottom Line? There is a reason Alex Essoe's career blew up after this.