DreadWorld Review: 'Deadly Famous' (2014/16)

Hollywood can be a bitch, which I'm sure I've started a review with before, but much like Hollywood I only have three of four original ideas that I just recycle over and over again.  Unlike Hollywood, I'm not famous for chewing people up and spitting them out (I love you all). But what happens to those folks after they've been regurgitated out the giant cesspool-like maw of the industry? That's where Deadly Famous, the latest film from directors Eric Troop and Jim Lane, drops its anchor.

Alan Miller (Daniel O'Meara) is a fading child star desperately clinging to whatever semblance of a career he may have left. He's also rapidly losing his grip on his sanity. As his career hits a new low, he takes a new tenant into his guest house. His interest in her becomes quickly obsession. When she rejects his sexual advances, any desire Alan has of being a human being based in reality is squelched and he gives into his animal desires taking his vengeance out on any aspiring young actresses that may cross his path.

Deadly Famous bills itself as being "Entourage meets American Psycho" and while the "Entourage" part of the analogy may be a bit of a stretch despite some entertaining scenes of Eric Roberts jonesing for cocaine, the American Psycho parallel is certainly accurate. Much like the Bret Easton Ellis classic we meet our questionable antagonist as he's already begun his dive into the depths of depravity. However where there is some ambiguity regarding Patrick Bateman's actual crimes, Alan Millers crimes are very much real.

I use the word "questionable" when describing both Miller and Bateman's roles in their respective films because both are very similar in the genesis of their psychosis. The deep seeded anger both hold towards their respective institutions, whether it be big business or the Hollywood machine, comes from a very altruistic place. But the comparisons between the two films doesn't end there.

Much like how American Psycho is made by Christian Bales magnetic haunting performance as Bateman, Deadly Famous is anchored by and equally engaging performance from Daniel O'Meara. Despite being a vile, awful, human being O'Meara is able to leave just enough humanity in the character to keep Alan from becoming a caricature. There's enough real world frustration left in Alan to elicit a small amount of sympathy, despite his horrible actions.

Directors Troop and Lane deviate between a tradition narrative and Alan Millers various handheld filming device throughout the film. While I'm generally not a fan of disrupting a films aesthetic with camera tricks, I think it works in Deadly Famous. It's an uncomfortable film. Troop and Lane insure that feeling just doesn't come from O'Meara's work but from their camera choices as well. So in this case, the handheld elements of the film are justified, not just by the narrative, but by the needs of the films mood.

Deadly Famous has a lot going for it. There are strong performances from all of the leads. There is some pretty impressive gore - especially for an indie feature. The film has an opening sequence that will stay with you for days. The film even has Eric Roberts playing, well, Eric Roberts, which goes a long way towards understanding why Eric Roberts chose to play The Master the way he did in the Doctor Who movie. Like most indie features it's not perfect, there are some warts worn by some of the secondary and tertiary cast performance wise and the second act spins it's wheels at certain points. But that shouldn't dissuade you from checking out Deadly Famous when it becomes available. If you dig character studies that devolve into nasty little horror films a la American Psycho, then you should check out Deadly Famous.

*** 3/4 Stars out of *****

That's it for me. As always, thanks for reading and "enjoy every sandwich."

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