Starry Eyes (2014)

Sarah Walker (Alexandra Essoe, who played Wendy Torrance in Dr. Sleep) is an aspiring actress who just can’t seem to break through. Perhaps Satan can help. That’s the central story in this 2014 film that I’ve always believed is way more true than fiction.

It’s directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, who went on to create the remade Pet Sematary.

Sarah works at Big Taters in between auditions and dealing with her unsupportive friends, like Erin (Fabianne Therese, John Dies At the End) who steals roles from her, her roommate Tracy and director Danny (Noah Segan, who has worked with Rian Johnson on many projects).

After another failed try-out for Astraeus Pictures’ new movie The Silver Scream, Sarah goes to the bathroom and begins tearing her hair out, which actually inspires the casting director. The follow-up, where she is encouraged to strip and transform herself in front of a strobe light, was inspired by a story someone told Widmyer and Kölsch aauditioning for David Lynch. She goes into a trance state and experiences extreme euphoria, but refuses to sleep with the producer at the third audition.

At a pool party celebrating Danny’s next movie — Sarah was promised the lead — our protagonist is surprised to see him kissing Erin, who is going after her part again. She returns to the producer’s house and goes down on him, which begins to change into something new. That change into something new involves throwing up maggots and having her nails and hair fall out, but beauty is never pretty.

Sarah is told she must either embrace the new her or die. She accepts it, kills all of her friends and is reborn a star.

This movie is pretty great, made in a world where modern horror feels soulless. It has a 70’s feel without devoting itself to that decade or coming off as a period film.

You can watch it on Shudder, Amazon Prime and Tubi.

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