Deadly Famous is a 2014 documentary style horror movie. The acting is borderline insane and the story is non-existent. While the story is ludicrous, there are some funny moments that come out of nowhere. These moments are not enough to save the film from being fairly forgettable.
The movie begins as if it is a documentary about Alan Miller. Alan is a former child star that has a penchant for killing young women. Living in Hollywood he has a plethora of possible victims. We see Alan’s footage as he frequently uses his camera during his murders. He finds a young woman that becomes his roommate. She becomes famous and finds love on the set of a Soap Opera, which enrages Alan.
The funny thing about Alan is that people do not seem notice that he is clearly psychotic. He finds girls from Craig’s List and, instead of being put off by the fact that he films everything, he picks up girls from the street too. He is a clearly unhinged character and anyone with a functioning brain would avoid this raving, manic nut. At the very least, a normal person would have called the police after being harassed by him.
There are a few aspects that are impressive about this movie. The photography is beautiful. There are scenes where the background views from the Hollywood hills are the highpoint. The tone shifts are sometimes awkward. For example, there is a scene of Alan and his friend at the Santa Monica boardwalk and it is filmed beautifully. It then cuts to a shot of Alan masturbating furiously.
The beginning credits sequence is a lot like the ones from the film Se7en but with photos of real victims of serial killers like the Black Dahlia. Many other scenes like the masturbation ones can take the audience out of the film. It is difficult to imagine that people would feel the need to film themselves awkwardly masturbating or that killing people would have be filmed in multiple angels from the same camera. The cameo performance of Eric Roberts was a delight and sadly not utilized fully. Roberts plays a caricature of himself where he spends a great deal of his screen time high on cocaine.
The story is a bit perplexing. There is nothing that is keeping it in the documentary style and the movie only uses that framework at the beginning and end of the film. One scene is a couple at the pond looking for their dog. It makes me wonder what couple goes looking for their dog at the pound and feel the compulsion to film it. There are a number of victims that escape Alan and it makes me wonder how he has not been caught yet.
The effects are not really well done. The blood comes off looking a lot more like Kool-Aid and the makeup seemed comically unreal. In one scene a girl is supposed to look like she has had half of her face scarred with cuts. Instead it looks like a latex mess. The blood stains on the wall look like a little child threw their cup of V-8 on the wall.
Alan is not a compelling protagonist. Even as killer he is racist, abrasive, and creepy. He just roams Hollywood, looking slouchy and creepily watching women. Only the dumbest girls fall for his trap and basically let him kill them. They go against all the smart things that people do to keep themselves safe. They get in his car, come to his house, and even let him touch them without leaving immediately.
Deadly Famous is not something I can recommend to people. It lacks a basic plot and the main character is very dislikable. Still, if you are an Eric Roberts fan you might glean some enjoyment out the film. Considering the strange tone of the film it might have been better had it been written as an irreverent comedy or a satirical movie mocking the genre. There are many other serial killer movies that are much more memorable.