Directed by Mitchel Altieri and Lee Cummings
Written by Mitchell Altieri, Jamal M. Jennings, Adam Weis
Starring Cameron Johnson, Scout Taylor-Compton, Liana Ramirez, Tiffany Shepis
Not to be confused with the Duffer Brothers (Stranger Things) or even the Vicious Brothers (Extraterrestrial), director Mitchel Altieri was one half of the Butcher Brothers, the team that brought you The Hamiltons as part of the After Dark Films To Die For series (remember that?), The Violent Kind, and The Night Watchmen. Altieri has now teamed up with Lee Cummings for the teen horror Star Light, a fun hot pursuit thriller that’s more party invasion than home invasion.
With headphones blaring his favorite pop star crush Bebe (Scout Taylor-Compton), cool high schooler Dylan (Cameron Johnson) is innocently cruising back home from a party on his skateboard when a damsel in distress tackles him in the middle of the street. She’s been injured in a car wreck so it takes Dylan a second to start realizing that the gorgeous girl that just fell in his lap just might be the world famous Bebe, herself. Rushing her back to his friend’s house as a few stragglers remain to clean up, they all try and protect Bebe from her insane driver (Bret Roberts) who, when he’s not talking to some thing in the trunk, doesn’t mind going on a minor killing spree in order to find her and get her back on the road.
As the kids try and wait out the siege until dawn, there are definitely some fun scenes of possession and betrayal that harken back to some of the playfully evil moments in Raimi’s Evil Dead without any of Raimi’s signature style. As Cummings told Dread previously, they wanted a “simplistic pallet of earth tones along with primary pops to aid the story.” Those “primary pops” are on full display in some of the bloodier kills that have such a heightened over-the-top quality, they’re almost comic. The feeling of make believe is only magnified by the fact that the trapped teenagers can barely believe this is all happening to them. “Is this real?” one of them screams as Bebe’s handler casually drags two dead cops out of the stolen police car he’s commandeered.
Cummings, in one of his first major outings as a director, went on to say, “I wanted to make a film that moves like a thriller but has moments that leave you feeling unsettled, something I always enjoy bringing to the screen.” Even as everyone is dying, there’s never a real sense of terror, however. Instead, Star Light chooses to go another route where the explanation of what’s happening is a lot more alien in nature.
Speaking of otherworldly, Scout Taylor-Compton has never looked better onscreen and even has a hilarious but sexy music video set on a remote beach as she dance flirts with the camera. Our hero, Dylan, happens to think she’s looking directly at him as he obsesses over his celebrity crush on repeat. With the producer of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake on board to help shepherd Lee Cummings’ vision and two horror vets like Scout and Tiffany Shepis involved, it’s not surprising that Star Light is such an effective little thriller. It’s also heartening to see a black director taking the helm with a black male lead as the hero, a trend that’s sure to continue in horror until it’s barely worth mentioning anymore. Cameron Johnson (The Wrong Crush) is a future star in the making and Star Light was smart to keep the spotlight mainly on him. When Scout Taylor-Compton gets to share the glow, the chemistry is white hot.
Star Light is now available on Digital and On Demand.
They say never meet your heroes, but what about your favorite pop star played by genre princess Scout Taylor-Compton? Some lives and maybe even some galaxies should never collide.