Starry Eyes - Blu-ray Review


4 stars

As a self-confessed hound of the horror genre, I find myself happily unleashed in cinematic cemeteries and very familiar with the format of a good haunt.  It takes quite a bit of atmosphere and gore to jar me these days.  Starry Eyes, directed and written by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, is exactly the demented head-trip I hoped and needed it to be.  The truth is that a new cult classic has arrived.

The occult horror film first piqued my interest with its Kickstarter campaign almost two years ago.   The idea of a horror film tackling the desire to act, as a female, in Hollywood as a transformative metaphor for pure evil seemed unique to me and very, very, very brave for a first-time team of filmmakers.   Talk about setting yourself up!  The result is an intense look at the satanic price of fame for all the young starlets out there à la the power of a David Cronenberg-like imagination. 

All of us have heard the stories of sleazy producers promising roles to young starlets if they’d only “put out” for them.  If you’ve ever spent any time in the City of Angels, well, you already know the type.  They are a dime a dozen and offices in Santa Monica are still crammed with them.  For Sarah (Alex Essoe), it is a situation she never saw herself willfully entering into which makes the events in Starry Eyes even more disturbing. 

Sarah is an aspiring actress who waitresses as a server in a Hooters-like chain (affectionately called Big Taters) and drives herself to every audition that she possibly can.   Rejection and humiliation follow her and her friends - Erin (Fabianne Therese), Tracy (Amanda Fuller), and Danny (Noah Segan) – are largely unsupportive, even if they are somewhat kind to her by inviting her to their parties. 

Things change when Sarah auditions, rather bizarrely, in front of a casting director (Maria Olsen) and an assistant (Marc Senter) for the lead role in The Silver Scream, a new horror film produced by a once powerful film company.  Suddenly, she finds herself trapped in endless nightmares, laughing inappropriately, and quitting her job because of her confidence in getting the part.  She gets the part, yes, but it comes with a price.  Ultimately, she finds herself on bended knees in front of the mysterious producer who wants to know how badly she wants fame.  What is she willing to do for it?

Full of pentagrams, devil worshipping and lots of blood, Starry Eyes looks at the transformative cost of becoming what we really want to be.  Friends are killed, deals are inked in blood, and idols are born and reborn in this 96-minute horror film.  While flawed with certain limitations in its modest budget, the film is a more solid offering of atmosphere and terror than most big-budgeted affairs.   Nothing looks cheap.  Nothing is cheap about it either.  I, for one, cannot wait to see what Essoe (in this star-making performance), Kolsch and Widmyer do next

The spell Starry Eyes casts is a hypnotic one and, once you start staring into its abyss, I dare you to look away.

Film Details

Starry Eyes - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Not rated.
98 mins
: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer
Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer
Alex Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Noah Segan
: Horror
Dreams require sacrifice ... and so do they
Memorable Movie Quote: "Hello Sarah, we'd like to see you again."
MPI Media Group
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 14, 2014
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 3, 2015
Synopsis: Determined to make it as an actress in Hollywood, Sarah Walker spends her days working a dead-end job, enduring petty friendships 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 new film from a mysterious production company. But with this opportunity comes bizarre ramifications that will transform her both mentally and physically into something beautiful... and all together terrifying.

Blu-ray Review

Starry Eyes - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - February 3, 2015
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 16-bit); English: LPCM 2.0 (48kHz, 16-bit)
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

The 2.40:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image is mostly good.  Detail is strong in close-ups, though wide shots are slightly soft.  Black levels are good, but I noticed some minor crush in dark hallways and outdoors at night.  Colors are muted but nicely saturated, and no big issues with aliasing or compression artifacts pop up.  All things considered, this is a solid transfer ripe with expression on blu-ray.  The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is decently immersive, with ambient effects and several music and effects-based stingers.  Dialogue was usually clear save a bit of rough recording, and the score was balanced appropriately.  An English 2.0 PCM track is also included, as are English subs.



  • The screen-specific commentary from writers/directors Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer and Producer Travis Stevens is an interesting, detail-oriented chat about the material and filmmaking process.  This is indeed a good listen for those interested in filmmaking.

Special Features:

This occult-related horror send-up for the perfect LA actress also includes some pretty solid supplemental material.  First up are ten deleted scenes that could have easily been included into the film to flush out some of the scenes.  The electornic (and often) eerie score from Jonathan Snipes gets highlighted, Essoe's audition video is included, and a Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery gives viewers and fans chances to see a different side of the production.  The film's theatrical trailer is also included.

  • Deleted Scenes (12 min)
  • Composer Jonathan Snipes Music Video (2 min)
  • Essoe’s Audition Video (14 min)
  • Photo Gallery (10 min)
  • Trailer