SXSW: Positive Reviews For "Starry Eyes" Are Flooding In

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The buzz out of Starry Eyes' premiere at SXSW has been overwhelmingly positive. So we're going to use this post as a place to collect some of our best reviews and blurbs. 

"If David Lynch and David Cronenberg came together to craft a gory, psychological mindbender, it might be Starry Eyes." - Michael Roffman

Read the full review at

"Much will be said about Starry Eyes' final act, a barrage of murder, bloodshed, and ritualistic cultism. And, deservedly, Widmyer and Kolsch will be awarded props for intelligently merging the black comedy of Hollywood failure with the Cronenberg-like body horror and slasher-movie brutality. But, for me, Alexandra Essoe is the main reason why Starry Eyes will stick with me long after SXSW concludes. I can still see her, as Sara, punishing herself by painfully uprooting all of those follicles. The secondhand trauma is something special." - Matt Barone

Read the full review at Complex Magazine.

"Starry Eyes is a most welcome addition to the Hollywood nightmare genre that dates as far back as Sunset Boulevard (and earlier) and in more recent years includes all-time favorite Mulholland Drive. The genius of Starry Eyes is that it melds the abstract Lynchian nightmare with the body horror of Cronenberg as Walker abandons her integrity, literally morphing into the type of creature who will do and eventually does everything it takes to gain acceptance in the superficial world that champions image over talent." - Zach Gayne

Read the full review at Twitch Film.

"With "Starry Eyes," the duo of Widmyer and Kölsch blend up traditional horror genre elements, including demonic possession and bodily transformation, with suspense thriller tropes, while mixing in some 1970s Grindhouse movie moments involving babes in bikinis at the pool and working at a Hooters-esque fast-food joint." - Ed Moy

Read the full review at The Examiner.

"All the gore is first-rate, but not as impressive as the performances. It’s ironic that Starry Eyes is about a young actress catching a big break in a horror, because Essoe should earn plenty of attention for her performance here. She keeps our focus and makes us hope Sarah will choose to do the right thing." - Jack Giroux

Read the full review at Film School Rejects.

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"Starry Eyes took me places that I didn't think modern horror was still capable of. The influences are all there on display, but it manages to feel wholly original. Every assumption I made about where the story was headed was proved wrong at every turn, much to my delight and surprise. There's so much going on in the film thematically and even cross-genre that nothing should seemingly work at all, yet it all pays off and does so impeccably. Starry Eyes is quite easily the horror film of the year, possibly even the next 5 to 10. It is truly a must see." - Matt Hardeman

Read the full review at The HDRoom.

"There are plenty of (usually independently produced) movies that take firm aim on the "eat 'em up and spit 'em out" nature of Hollywood. (My favorites are Swimming with Sharks, Living in Oblivion, The Player, and The Day of the Locust.) But while those films are satirical and often very funny deconstructions of The Hollywood Machine, the new indie horror film Starry Eyes is sort of a kick-straight-to-the nuts of the film industry." - Scott Weinberg

Read the full review at FEARNet.

"Not dissimilar from this year’s Sundance hit WHIPLASH, STARRY EYES refuses to look away from a character willing to go an immensely horrifying distance for her desires. Kolsch & Widmyer are clearly attuned to the pitch black nature that consumes Sarah but, like the alluring score, there’s something stirring in her eventual transformation of living through an actor’s worst cosmetic nightmare and still forcibly taking what she wants." - Sam Zimmerman

Read the full review at Fangoria.

"It’s somewhat ironic that Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kölsch’s Starry Eyes, a film that literally singles out ambition as the blackest of human qualities, is the most ambitious film I have seen thus far at SXSW this year. That’s not to say that the film succumbs to the same temptations as its protagonist (an admirably raw and vulnerable Alex Essoe), but both the movie and its subject employ a black hearted scorched earth tactic – the efficacy of which is hard to deny." - Evan Dickson

Read the full review at Bloody Disgusting.

"Starry Eyes is certainly an engaging and eerie story of risk, sacrifice and transformation. It’s an unsettling examination of whether you’re open to selling your soul to sell out. And when Sarah makes her choice, it’s then that Starry Eyes lays bare its black heart and we witness the corrosive side of high ambitions in the film industry. The film becomes a smart and sly indictment against Hollywood for the murder of independent cinema that’s masked in a Rosemary’s Baby-esque tale." - Ryan Turek

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Read the full review at Shock Till You Drop.

"This is slow burn horror at its best- slowly revealing itself to the audience before exploding into a torrent of carnage and mayhem.  Featuring scenes of excessive creepiness and sparse bits of extreme violence, this is the perfect example of how horror movies used to be." - Adam Patterson

Read the full review at Film Pulse.

"This is an exciting and brilliant work of originality, a possession movie that examines our society’s obsession with fame. Kolsch and Widmyer have crafted something special. Fans of violent and cerebral horror films owe it to themselves to see this film." - Daniel Tucker

Read the full review at Next Projection.

"The Hollywood that exists in the world of Starry Eyes can’t be found anywhere else, while also being an amalgam of every version of Hollywood we’ve seen or heard about. Seeing the places that Kolsch and Widmyer went on their debut feature just makes me all that more excited for every other movie they ever make, as Starry Eyes was one of the smartest, creepiest, disturbing, surreal, and also entertaining movies to come out of SXSW." - The Wolfman

Read the full review at The Wolfman Cometh.

"Starry Eyes is the best horror film of 2014 thus far – a movie so fresh and inspired that it makes me believe there’s still some life (or death) left in this genre after all." - Famous Monster

Read the full review at Geeks Of Doom.

"On its surface, "Starry Eyes" tells a horror story of physical metamorphosis while the deeper theme underneath explores the more intangible terrors that come with transformation.  "Starry Eyes" is a body horror movie, but it also makes wise use of the Hollywood dream premise to deliver a frightening fable about duality, false faces, and compromising one's character in a wayward effort to create a new personality based on presumption." - Culture Crypt

Read the full review at Culture Crypt.

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"On the surface level, it is an ucky, grimy and viscous story delving into a dark outlook on fame and self-sacrifice. But if you dig deeper and replace visceral grossness for symbolic meaning, you get a far more unsettling drama about what it means to give up yourself to become something you never thought, deep down, that you could be. Because in the end, the destination is only valuable if you haven’t given up every part of your humanity to get there. Starry Eyes gets right to the heart of that question in a most scary and satisfying way." -

Read the full review at

"Starry Eyes presents a fresh take on a recycled Hollywood journey, one that oozes passionate horror love and dramatic, psychologically-charged storytelling. You’ve seen it before, but you haven’t seen it like this" - Matt Donato

Read the full review at WeGotThisCovered.

"The whole selling your soul to the devil thing has been done before and probably in more subtle ways but subtlety is not Kolsch and Widmyer's game. Rather Starry Eyes is such a horrifying victory for them because of how far they're willing to take us. This deep down the rabbit hole, everything is so pitch black that we can't see even the faintest flicker of light and they, in this realm of deprivation, they mine the scares perfectly. It's unrelenting darkness opens the flood gates, letting the horror flow from what's onscreen and those other thoughts that exist in our imagination alone. It's the perfect synthesis of shock, disgust and angst that'll have audiences turning in their seats and watched through the crooks of hands shielding their faces." - Matt Oakes

Read the full review at SilverScreenRiot.

"Filmmakers have strong history of turning the cameras back onto filmmaking. And who can blame them? They know that film is a shared interest with their captive audience, and it must be satisfying to write what you know. STARRY EYES is a horror film, about the horror of an actress trying to get a part in a film, which is about making a horror film. Though these layers do not confuse, it goes to show the extent to which filmmakers love navel gazing. After briefly acknowledging the inherent narcissism here, I will tell you that STARRY EYES is dark film that successfully convinces me to never move to Hollywood." - Deirdre Crimmins

Read the full review at AllThingsHorror.

"With a serious feminist bent, Starry Eyes delves into the feelings of a young woman in a patriarchal society, and none is more patriarchal than the movie industry. But the movie isn’t just a feminist rant. It’s also a good, solid horror film with some great gore effects." - Professor Wagstaff

Read the full review at Professor Wagstaff.

Stay tuned for more reviews as they flow in!