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Thursday, August 6, 2020

Review: Star Light

Director: Mitchell Altieri and Lee Cummings
Screenplay: Mitchell Altieri, Jamal M. Jennings, and Adam Weis
Year: 2020

“Star Light”, from directors Mitchell Altieri (“The Hamiltons”) and Lee Cummings, begins by establishing the protagonist character Dylan. Dylan is a teenager who lives an exemplary life, away from the influence of drugs and alcohol and who enjoys arcade video games and music. His only problem seems to be his mother, with whom Dylan does not agree in her decisions after his father died. 

One night, after leaving a friend’s party, Dylan stumbles upon a beaten-up young woman, who ends up being a world-renowned singer. Given her state, Dylan decides to help her and takes her back to his friend’s house where the party took place. Once there, a strange man shows up looking for the artist, which triggers a series of events that make it clear that the artist keeps a dark secret.

“Star Light” is the sort of movie in horror cinema that doesn’t stop being entertaining, but doesn’t offer anything innovative to the genre. For end to end of the plot in the script of Mitchell Altieri, Jamal M. Jennings y Adam Weis (“A Beginner’s Guide To Snuff”) is impossible not to feel in familiar terrain and have a clear idea as to where the story heads. This is not necessarily bad, but it detracts from the unpredictability and surprise factor that it might have.

Clearly a low budget movie, “Star Light” manages to overcome this problem with the polished quality of its shots, but its B-movie nature cannot be hidden. The first snitch is the variability in acting quality. In the interpretations of the protagonists Dylan and Bebe, Cameron Johnson and Scout Taylor-Compton (“Penance Lane”; “The Lurker”) do a good job; this last one who seems to be turning into a low budget horror movie queen. However, other actors in secondary roles don’t do a good job and give way to cringy scenes. Bret Roberts (“May”) is the acting highlight and interprets the strange man looking for Bebe, who is the most entertaining character and manages to summon an excellent mixture of odd, dangerous, and funny. 

The other low budget movie snitch is the special effects. Like with the acting, the quality of the special effects is not constant, with some moments, when it shifts to horror, where they do a great job, but others are funny instead of terrifying. This problem permeates the horror themes in the plot, where they don’t do a lousy job but are unable to choose one in particular, adding up to the problem of variability in quality seen in several production aspects. 

“Star Light” has many flaws, but for some strange reason, it manages to keep itself interesting. Its low budget movie nature makes it stay in a safe and known environment, making its plot predictable and unable to offer anything new to the horror genre. This is another horror movie destined for the dark pit of mediocrity. That being said, Anton’s character is pure gold.

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