Starry Eyes (2014).
Dir: Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer.
Cast: Alex Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Noah Segan, Fabianne Therese, Shane Coffey, Natalie Castillo, Pat Healy, Nick Simmons, Maria Olsen, Marc Senter and Louis Dezseran.
Skinny kneed wannabe actress Sarah (Essoe, a taller, skinnier, more highly strung version of Unwell fave Sally Hawkins) dreams of movie fame and fortune whilst spending her days waitressing (in what looks like a pair of painted on leggings) at a frighteningly depressing potato-themed restaurant named Big Taters.
Her scarily spud-headed boss Carl (the always great Healy from The Innkeepers) is slowly losing patience as more and more of her work-time is taken up with phoning and attending auditions as opposed to making potato-type puns and jutting her breasts out whilst her friend Erin (John Dies At The End's Therese) appears to be channeling Dynasty era Joan Collins, constantly trying to with her general bitchiness as she tries to undermine Sarah's confidence at every opportunity and attempting to steal any role she goes up for.
Saying that, she is really cute so I guess we can let her away with it.
|You'd Fabianne her Therese. Probably.|
The rest of her friends aren't much better seeing as they consist of a group of wannabe artsy types banding together thru' a shared love of interesting haircuts and tramps trousers.
Saying that tho' they're all so painfully hip it's a wonder the can find any tramp trousers that fit.
In fact, the only decent folk amongst them is Sarah's doll-like roommate Tracy (Fuller, imagine an American version of Billie Piper - in a good way that is) and struggling writer/director cum Erin's fucktoy Danny (Days of Our Lives Conner Lockhart himself, Segan).
But he lives in a van so he doesn't really count.
You see whilst our American cousins may think this is really cool, in the UK we just call people like that Pikeys.
Before setting fire to their shoes obviously.
|"Spuds in mah mooth!"|
Good fortune (and the plot kicking in good and proper) appears to smile on our heroine one day when she's call up to audition for a brand new horror epic entitled The Silver Scream, a new project being made by the world renowned production company Astraeus Pictures.
A company that, due to it's name has either spooky mythological overtones pertaining to the Greek god of dusk and change (and father of the four wind deities) or was set up by a fan of Iron Maiden star Bruce Dickinson's much missed budget airline.
Tho' there's nothing stopping them being a fan of both I guess.
With this information boosting her confidence Sarah excitedly attends the aforementioned audition only to have her (to my mind anyway) perfectly acceptable reading met with a wall of total apathy and boredom by the creepy casting director (genre favourite Olsen coming across like a scarier real life version of The Incredibles Edna Mode crossed with a shark) and her vaguely camp assistant (smooth chinned Senter).
|"Hello French polishers? You may have just saved my life!"|
Sent home with a sigh, Sarah does what anyone would in that situation (if you're a mentalist obviously) would do and strops off to a nearby bathroom before proceeding to pull her hair out whilst screaming.
Which apart from being vaguely reminiscent of my nans stroke (in a totally non sexy way obviously....oh go on then it was a wee bit sexy) is enough to move the casting director to give her another chance.
Sarah that is not my nan, who's a bit too old to audition for a horror movie.
And probably a bit too dead as well.
Returning to the audition room Sarah begins to tear at her hair whilst pulling an 'I'm having a massive poo" face before passing out in a heap.
Not unlike a big bag of potatoes.
Cinematic symmetry eh?
She awakes to find she's been offered a callback to a second audition.
But this one will be slightly different in the fact that she wont need any of her clothes.
She needn't worry about feeling uncomfortable tho' because there'll be a huge fuck off strobe light in the room to help Sarah open up her potential to 'transform' whilst the casting director take pics.
|A pre-stroke, non dead gran yesterday.|
Surprisingly Sarah is OK with this and is soon swaying provocatively to the click of the camera before finally entering a trance-like state of euphoria not seen since pill-popping posters 808state, A Guy Called Gerald, Ceephax Acid Crew and Mantra (possibly) last shared a make-shift stage in a deserted warehouse just outside Coventry.
Which to those readers who are too young to remember 'acid house' would be very euphoric indeed.
And probably result if the police driving a van into the speakers and arresting everyone.
But I digress.
Higher than your dads voice and feeling full of confidence Sarah quits her job at Big Taters and begins to prepare herself for soon to come stardom by acting mildly annoying around her friends and taking the piss out of them when they trip over.
Which would be OK if the fall in question didn't result in the groups most inoffensive member Ashley (Castillo) landing head first on a poolside and breaking her nose.
Called back to meet the films leathery necked producer, Peter Pervington (Dezseran), Sarah is shocked to find the saucy old goat attempting to pop his hand in her pants whilst explaining the plot and realizes, too late that she's expected to have some of 'the sex' with him to secure the role.
Balking at the idea of letting someone who looks like your dad put it in her (she doesn't know what she's missing, just ask your girlfriend) Sarah runs (well totters, her heels are quite high) home where she tells all to Tracy who, as friends do tells everyone else.
|"It's a film about love, action, romance and maybe a wee bit of mooth shite-in..."|
Feeling slightly humiliated by this turn of events Sarah has no choice but to beg for her old job and hope that Erin will soon find someone else to take the piss out of.
But seeing as none of her other pals are forced to wear leggings printed up like french fries on a daily basis I doubt this'll happen.
Everything comes to a head (quite literally) one night when, after a heart to heart with Danny, Sarah decides to bite the bullet (so to speak) and returns to the producers house where she apologies for running off before and offers to make amends by taking his flaccid member in her perfectly rouged mouth.
Which is nice if a little disconcerting when a group of black cloaked masked men appear from behind the curtains.
With her dignity gone and her friends alienated by her increasingly erratic behavior, Sarah first loses her job before losing herself in increasingly fevered visions of her as a glamorous movie idol with the producer at her side.
Suffice to say she's not a well girl.
But that's not the worst of it as just as she thinks things can't get any worse, she's woken one morning by horrendously painful stomach cramps and blood oozing from every orifice as the pungent smell of ripe onions emanates from her underwear.
Physically and mentally collapsing Sarah's life becomes a living nightmare as she realizes what she must sacrifice to see her dreams of stardom come to fruition....
|...Talking of sexual favours for fame...|
Which is always nice to see.
They just need to realize that somethings are better left imagined.
Case in point is the build up to meeting the producer. The aforementioned performance by Maria Olsen is just the right side of creepy as to remain perfectly straight yet increasingly uncomfortable as she hints at what fame will cost Sarah, the visions of what a Satanic casting couch could involve racing thru' your head as Sarah becomes deeper and deeper involved in Astraeus Pictures plot.
What vileness could be in store for the poor girl?
Well, disappointingly the casting couch is just that, she actually has to blow an old bloke and after all that build up it's a wee bit of a let down.
For us obviously, no doubt he loved it.
|"He did WHAT in his cup?"|
Newcomer Alex Essoe is fantastic as Sarah, flicking effortlessly between put upon victim and psycho-bitch badness without a hint of panto villainy whilst remaining vulnerable on both counts, giving the film a real world heart that plays nicely against the uncomfortable schemes unfolding around her.
As ever Pat Healy is as watchable as ever as are the rest of the cast who give a genuine likability to what could have been a group of annoying cyphers, Noah Segan especially shines as Danny giving a real warmth to what is a tiny, yet important role.
Best of all tho' is Fabianne Therese who nails the bitchtastically evil Erin to perfection.
Hopefully Kölsch and Widmyer have got enough incriminating evidence to keep this cast together for their next project.
Or at the very least leak any pics featuring Therese drunkenly dancing in the bear suit.
|Therese...Bear suit not shown.|
I for one am looking forward to the directing duo's next movie.