Director(s): Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer
Cast: Alex Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Noah Segan
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-Ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
Determined to make it as an actress in Hollywood, Sarah Walker (Alex Essoe, Passion Play, Boy Toy) spends her days working a dead-end job, enduring petty friendships with other struggling artists and competing actors, and going on countless casting calls in hopes of catching her big break. After a series of strange auditions, Sarah lands the leading role in a film from a mysterious production company. But this opportunity comes with some bizarre conditions that will transform her both mentally and physically into something beautiful … and altogether terrifying.
Sarah (Essoe) is a young woman pursuing her dream of becoming an actress in the city where stars are born. She spends day after day hanging out with meaningless acquaintances and few true friends; taking one class after another and trying her best at countless audition after audition while also working a dead end job merely to survive. Suddenly she finds herself granted an audition for a lead role in an upcoming film from a respectable and well known production company. After a series of strange and abnormal auditions she finds herself with the lead role in her sight, but by taking the final step and accepting the role she might be signing on for far more than she had bargained for.
Written and Directed by filmmaking duo Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, ‘Starry Eyes’ is the real feature film debut of the two (they previously wrote and directed a film titled ‘Absence’ together, although from what I can tell it never saw the light of day aside from a single festival screening back in 2009) and what a magnificent debut for two up and coming writer and director’s. The duo have crafted, constructed and executed one truly disturbing and amazingly well done film here and I greatly look forward to seeing what these two will bring us in the future. The cast is composed of very capable individuals including mostly unknown (or little known) talent mixed with a few familiar faces, including Pat Healy, Amanda Fuller, Shane Coffey, and a number of others, most of whom all deliver fairly impressive performances in each of their roles, although Alexandra Essoe unquestionably steals the show with her memorable portrayal of the lead character Sarah.
‘Starry Eyes’ is the kind of film that will worm its way into your head and stay with you well after you finish viewing. It’s a gruesome and disturbing piece of mind-twisting magnificence that is sure to get under the skin of even the most avid horror fans. The pace is perfectly coordinated, starting simply enough and then slowly and painfully building to an unsettling climax that will not soon be forgotten. It’s a rare treat to come across a film that is so expertly crafted that even going in with high expectations due to positive word of mouth, I could not possibly have been more amazed. ‘Starry Eyes’ is a unique and intoxicating horror film that is not to be missed, as long as you can handle it; as a huge horror fan myself, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Starry Eyes’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty solid in most aspects, although it does suffer from some heavy banding issues in a number of sequences that unfortunately can be a bit distracting at times. Fortunately in pretty much every other aspect the picture looks great, sharp and detailed. While it may not be perfect, this high definition video presentation still looks pretty wonderful overall and is easily the best video quality that you’ll find for the film and it’s a very strong possibility (especially considering how solid Dark Sky/MPI releases usually are) that the banding and other minor issues are simply due to the source material and no fault on the part of mastering by the studio.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack and it sounds magnificent. This is one incredibly active lossless soundtrack which really helps to immerse the viewer in the creepy world on screen, flooding all of the available channels on numerous occasions with painful noises, blurred echoes and voices, along with plenty of other eerie sounds and casual sound elements alike. It also brings the films gorgeous score composed and performed by Jonathan Snipes to life beautifully. This 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack is a real treat and also holds up in every possible way, it should definitely not disappoint.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Starry Eyes’ includes a pretty decent collection of bonus content. Included on the release is an Audio Commentary with Writer-Directors Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch and Producer Travis Stevens. Also included on the Blu-Ray release is a number of Deleted Scenes (approximately 11 minutes worth altogether), a‘Jonathan Snipes Music Video’ (composer and performer of the films score) along with Alex Essoe’s Audition Video, a Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery and the film’s Trailer.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.