Scout Taylor-Compton, Cameron Johnson, Rahart Adams, Liana Ramirez, Garrett Westton, Chandler Rachelle, Hagen Mills, Tiffany Shepis, Kevin Jiggetts, and Bret Roberts DIRECTED BY
Mitchell Altieri, Lee Cummings SCREENPLAY
Mitchell Altieri, Jamal M. Jennings, Adam Weis MPAA RATING
NR RUNNING TIME
90 Mins. DISTRIBUTED BY
1091 Media WATCH THIS FILM
"Star Light" Available on Digital/VOD
There's mediocre mayhem to be found in Star Light, a new indie horror title from Mitchell Altieri and Lee Cummings starring horror vet Scout Taylor-Compton (Halloween, Halloween II) as the somewhat mysterious pop superstar Bebe A. Love, a young pop star attempting to escape the clutches of her moustrous manager, Anton (Bret Roberts).
While much of Star Light centers around Bebe, the action takes off with Dylan, a soon-to- be high school graduate living with his widowed mother and her new a**hole boyfriend. After yet another dinner time confrontation, Dylan is off to hang with Nick (Rahart Adams) and his other pals, some fitting the usual indie horror movie caricatures while others a little bit more fleshed out.
The casting of Scout Taylor-Compton is a major coup that pays off here, though Taylor-Compton can't turn this familiar premise into an engaging motion picture alone and outside of Taylor-Compton the acting ranges from deliriously godawful to competent. The simple truth is that acting alone can't salvage a story that plows its way through every tired indie horror movie trope while rarely ever translating those tropes into something resembling actual horror.
You'll undeniably recognize other not so distant horror films while watching Star Light, which has arrived on digital/VOD courtesy of indie distributor 1091 Media. While this isn't inherently a bad thing, Star Light only occasionally makes it work even when the film's rather slow, low-action start segues into the inevitable action sequences. The film also is gifted by the presence of producer Jeffrey Allard, producer of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, and also counts horror vet Tiffany Shepis among its key players. Fans of teen-focused indie horror may find enough to satisfy here, but virtually every other type of horror movie fan, from B-movie connoisseurs to gorehounds, will most likely be disappointed.
The story unfolds pretty much as expected in Star Light, Anton's attempts at reclaiming Bebe rejected and Anton's response to that rejection being increasingly vengeful and violent. One-by-one, the teens drop with few surprises along the way and a surprisingly soft ending that seems to present the possibility of a sequel or series.
There's potential to be found in Star Light. Cameron Johnson, in particular, has a quiet charisma about him that makes me want to watch him in other projects while both Taylor-Compton and Shepis do their usual fine work despite being saddled with a sub-par story that doesn't begin to match their usual efforts. Production quality is strong, especially for an indie horror project, and kudos should be given for Jonathan Hall's lensing and Chester Myrick Stacy's immersive production design.
Star Light ultimately disappoints, a promising horror feature that never quite rises up to its potential. I'm always a fan of supporting indie filmmakers and there's likely enough here to please fans of retro-horror, but for most Star Light ultimately flames out.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic
The 50/50 x 2020 Pledge
The Independent Critic is proud to support Indy-based Heartland Film by committing to the 50/50 x 2020 Pledge - By the end of the year 2020, The Independent Critic will achieve gender parity in its reviews of both shorts and feature films. Furthermore, The Independent Critic also pledges support for the Ruderman Family Foundation's call for authentic representation of people with disabilities in film and actively commits to leverage its journalistic influence to effect genuine change in the film industry by calling for and actively promoting authentic and inclusive casting and hiring of people with disabilities.