I liked this one a lot. I feel like it had essentially the same story and overall message as The Neon Demon and told it way better. I know The Neon Demon was going for flash (quite literally at times), but I found this one much prettier. The camera work was well done, the music was fantastic, and I love the scenes where the camera flash looks just like a full moon.
The acting is good for the most part, too. I like that Sarah was played by someone I’d never seen elsewhere (Alex Essoe is the name) so I didn’t get caught up in the actress so much as the character. And Sarah is a very compelling character. Her desperation and ambition are really the core of this film and at times they’re practically jumping off the screen.
At one point (when Sarah shoves the man outside the Astreus house) I found myself literally holding up my hands to fend her off — that’s how real the emotions in this film felt. It’s the kind of thing that leaves a lasting impression on you…I’m sure that final scene will haunt me for a few weeks at least. And that scene where Sarah is sick in the bathroom? Absolutely terrifying.
This movie moves a bit slowly at times and the dialogue isn’t perfect. That scene where Sarah has returned to meet with the producer reminded me suddenly of the beginning of that Meat Loaf song “You Took the Words Right Out of my Mouth” and I’m pretty sure it’s because of the dialogue. Listen to that song, watch that scene, and tell me you don’t hear it as well.
Oh, and Noah Segan was in this movie! He’s been in a couple of things I’ve seen recently and is pretty good. His character is always kind of a dick, but he looks like he’d be a nice guy in person. I’m kind of hoping that’s the case — I’d like him even more. Is there anyone who knows him personally who can confirm? Anyway, he was good in this.
Overall this is a hauntingly creepy commentary on the things we do when we’re desperate and the dark side of Hollywood. If you can handle some blood and gore you’ll probably like this film — and it’s honestly almost worth watching just for the soundtrack.