Film Review: Deadly Famous is a slick psychological horror film

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I received this screener on behalf of Indican Pictures.

This is a powerhouse. It is being described as “American Psycho meets Entourage” but I feel like it is more than that. What we have here is a film that completely caught me by surprise because it’s not at all what it appears to be as advertised.

The film centers around a man named Alan (Daniel O’Meary), a distressed mostly out-of-work actor who is so egotistical and full of that kind of attitude we hate most in performers. He has a distaste for most people (especially ones who won’t take his craft seriously), he has a very short and violent temper, and… oh, did I mention he also likes to place wanted ads for young aspiring actresses online and then kill them when they don’t perform to his standards? I guess I can see the American Psycho aspect of the film in that regard because much like Patrick Bateman, Alan is very unpredictable, self-obsessed, and violent. In the film, he has a young blonde actress named Pam (Jackie Moore) move in with him in order to study and with the promise of getting auditions and as we see all the craziness going on in Alan’s life, we fear for Pam who is completely in the dark about his true self.

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I’ve been seeing a lot of found footage movies lately and this is sort of another one but much like the last one I saw, this is a film that doesn’t use it like a gimmick. Alan is a tortured soul and he has this habit of constantly having cameras record everything that happens in his house like a sort of constant audition. In fact, every time Alan talks to the camera or even another character it feels like he is trying to get a role in something. The words that come out of his mouth never feel genuine but rather more like a monologue that he is giving to his audience that simply isn’t there. The only time he feels real is in the scenes where he becomes angry at various things. For instance, he is seen going through many unsuccessful auditions and I even found a bit of dark humour when he is forced to audition for an erectile dysfunction ad but stalls and asks for character motivation and direction. He also has a few freak-out moments with Pam, especially when she gets an audition and in another scene where she appears in a soap opera. At that point, Alan appears less like a mentor to her but rather a jealous fellow actor. It is almost like he only wants her to live there so someone can share in his failure and misery.

Suffice to say, the main character is quite layered and unique. He is played by a very talented actor named Daniel O’Meara, who has appeared in a few major Hollywood films like John Carter and Elizabeth but has been mostly gone unseen by the mainstream media. I really hope this film changes that. It is extremely hard to break into show-business or to become a star but I urge anyone reading this to go and purchase this film on Google Play, Amazon Prime or iTunes. Not to be outdone, Jackie Moore provides the perfect antithesis to his character in the form of the bubbly blonde actress who wants to make it big. Jackie is another actress who hasn’t quite hit the mainstream yet but she is very capable and talented, particularly in a crushing scene where she explains that a potential big film audition turned out to be a sleazy casting couch attempt by the producer. She is a great young talent and a lesser actress could have made a mess of some of the scenes shared between her and O’Meara. There are a lot of other minor characters but they are not in the film a whole lot especially when compared to the lead and his beautiful co-star. Special mention does go out to a certain Hollywood actor that plays himself as a cocaine-and-whores partygoer. Any scene with him in it gave a nice bit of comic relief in an otherwise-dark and gloomy film.

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Jackie Moore

 

The shooting style is something that I have already explained but I want to go into detail regarding the special effects for a moment. This film is very bloody and gory but at the same time, it never feels excessive. Any time the red substance appears on-screen though it is almost heart-stopping in its intensity. Not only that but Alan doesn’t just kill people viciously with the old blood-and-guts routine. He suffocates them, hangs them, and a few more creative means that I won’t delve into too much here at risk of telling you too much! The effects are realistic, especially the first scene in which Alan kills an unsuspecting female. I actually winced as I watched it; it was difficult.

So if you’re looking for an intense, clever, well-paced horror film that also acts as a brilliant character study, look no further. This is a phenomenal indie film with terrific writing and acting.

**** ½

 

Rating System:

* (Brutal; the worst rating)

** (Some elements keep it from being awful but still not very good)

*** (Completely watchable; a rental as old-timers might say)

**** (Great film with a few things here and there keeping it from being perfect)

***** (Flawless; a true achievement)