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American Idolatry


But seriously...how similar in structure, mood, and overall synopsis were Contracted and Starry Eyes? Just swap "zombie" with "Satan" and you have the latter. I'd hate to take away anything from Starry Eyes, because I enjoyed it as much for its visceral, grotesque nature as one can. But at the same time, this film had so many moments that felt like a shot-for-shot burglarly of Contracted. The infestation of worms, the living spontaneously decomposing, the rotting jealousy...It all felt too familiar from a film too fresh on the mind.

Starry Eyes was a well crafted film, despite these haunting similarities, and it kept my attention throughout despite my mind flashing parallels I'd seen a year ago. However, this film did two things differently, and it was not quaint with its approach in these two aspects.

Firstly, it attacked the film industry's misogynistic attributes, and how an actress' fame and shame tend to run hand-in-hand. I'd like to think the film industry isn't this blatantly sexist, but frankly the world feels that way often enough.

Secondly, the film really drove home envy as a festering wound. The demonic foreshadowing was less pressed-in-your-face than this woman's visceral distaste and jealousy of the people she surrounded herself with. While with a far less stagnant perspective, this film, like The Babadook, could be seen as a character piece. It is a take on the ramifications of envy and its impact on your life. It is a powerful image, even with our victim's eyes turning vividly green at the end of the film.

I'd like to think the director of this film didn't see Contracted. Or that both films were being made at similar points in time and were simply released at different times (it's happened plenty of times before). But despite an excuse, the truth remains that those who lag behind are doomed to be met with skepticism of plagiarism (or to be less dramatic, unoriginality). Starry Eyes has met that fate for me, though I did certainly find a way to truly appreciate it as its own work.

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