Deadly Famous (2014) Review

deadlyfamous1Deadly Famous (USA, 2014)

Dir: Jim Lane & Eric Troop

Starring: Daniel O’Meara, Jackie Moore, Eric Roberts

Plot: Alan Miller (O’Meara) is a struggling actor who is obsessed with the profession. Constantly being denied work for his intensity and over-enthusiasm, Alan is locked out of his Hollywood dream. Through his frustration, Alan starts to assault young women, starting with street harassment before quickly spiralling into torture and murder.

Deadly Famous, also known as Head Shot, is a tale from first time directors Jim Lane and Eric Troop. Filmed in a found footage/documentary style, it is a story of obsession and entitlement, specifically the kind found in those who dream of Hollywood stardom. Alan as the self-righteous actor is any creative who refuses to quit, although in this case it is taken to the extreme. He’s a misanthrope who thinks that the only reason he isn’t heralded as the next great actor is due to the small-minded and corrupt people who refuse to give him work. When he launches into one of his rants, you can’t help but see a little of Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle in the portrayal of Alan.

deadlyfamous2The choice of the found footage style is questionable in Deadly Famous, it’s part of the character of Alan to film everything and people do respond to it as strange and unsettling behaviour. He is obsessed with filming even if the people in front of the camera don’t want to be. However the film is also edited from several different sources of footage including Alan’s lodger, Pamela (Moore), and also several interviews with Alan’s agent. If it’s supposed to feel like a real documentary, some of the gorier scenes probably wouldn’t make the cut. Found Footage is supposed to give the illusion that this might have happened but Deadly Famous doesn’t hit that mark.

My biggest issue with this film is Alan’s evolution into a serial killer/madman. I say evolution but he’s pretty mad from the start. His screen test and audition footage reminds me of Christian Bale’s meltdown on the Terminator Salvation set. He’s clearly a dangerous individual to begin with so it’s surprising that he leads so many people to the death, because no sane person would want to be alone with him.

deadlyfamous3He gets crazier as the film goes on and it does feel like it’s trying to mimic the celebrity breakdowns of actors such as Charlie Sheen but it doesn’t come across as a satire film. If it is supposed to be a satire, it just comes off as a bit weird but also quite cliché. He’s a campy kind of crazy, the type of crazy that I’ve seen too many time in found footage style horror films. He’s not original enough to be interesting, he’s just a sexist, racist, actor who starts killing people.

Due to it’s setting in Hollywood, Deadly Famous feels like it should be making a statement about fame and cinema in Los Angeles, but I don’t really see it. Maybe it makes sense if you live there but from the outside it feels like someone’s trying to mix Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer with Entourage.