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Review: #Starvecrow – “Innovative brilliance”

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Starvecrow is an independent dark romance that manipulates the mind of the audience. It has been dubbed “the world’s first ever selfie” movie as it utilises improvised acting with the front camera of mobile devices. The premise is innovative and refreshing. It destroys the idea of found-footage being the new craze; it may very well be the first blood of a successful low-budget generation of films.

As any film that utilises improv acting, the performances need to be of a high quality; a balance needs to be struck between seriousness and creativity, ensuring that dialogue fits the overall tone that the film is attempting to conjure up. In Starvecrow, the performances are believable and wholly impressive. There is a hint of The Blair Witch Project to this, in that you could dupe a multitude of people into believing that what they are witnessing is real. The feel of dread that Starvecrow creates is largely down to the compelling performances and realistic interaction. The story goes down the path that the actors want it to go and yet cohesion remains. It is bewildering that such a small film could concoct innovative brilliance like this, but the 2016 movie does just that. Most films attempting this level of hyper-real tend to fall flat on their face, descending into melodrama and cheap acting, which is why Starvecrow sticks out in the most positive way possible.

The “selfie” style of shooting needs to be addressed. It may sound tacky and advantageous of a current societal craze, but it works. Through this medium, the audience are drawn into the desperation of the characters and power of the performances. Paranoia is at an all-time high throughout the entire 80 minute runtime. You never know who to trust in this talented ensemble cast, even though the nature of the selfie means you are always up close and personal with a character. Are you witnessing a good hearted person or a horrible one? Honest or dishonest? Those are the questions that Starvecrow constantly poses and they are extremely frightening ones at that.

The only undisputed negative is that, even at 80 minutes of footage, Starvecrow does tend to drag on with its plot – things happen quickly, but the plot advances slowly after a while. The feel of paranoia and fear are ever-present, but sometimes resolution is needed before the film decreases in quality. Luckily, it does not detract too much from the pay-off.

I challenge anyone to watch this and not be overcome by fear. The editing is flawless, combining fast-paced scenes together to keep the heart of the story beating relentlessly. By the time the credits roll, you ask yourself one question: “did I hold my breath that whole time?”

Starvecrow is a refreshing take on the hyper-real phenomena, combining excellent performances with quick-cut editing to create a solid independent feature. There is a poignant and relevant social commentary on domestic abuse and abusive relationships that feels genuine and packs a powerful punch.

4-out-of-5

Starvecrow will be released on February 14th 2016. We at Live for Films would like to thank the team for inviting us to the press screening.

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