Alan Miller is an unemployed narcissistic actor who is way too into his “craft”. He has not had a real job in about 20 years and cannot get along with hardly anybody for more than a few minutes before his aggression makes for a tense encounter. He also has a “hobby” as a serial killer with a loose grasp of reality. This suspense thriller, Deadly Famous, is an engrossing, borderline disturbing, trip through the mind of a psychopath in Hollywood.
Right from the start, we know the whole film is leading up to some horrific scene discovered by cops investigating strange noises; likely brought on by Alan’s new houseguest, Pamela (Jackie Moore; Pernicious). Pamela is an energetic young woman trying to get her foot in the door to Hollywood. She moves in with Alan to get his assistance and begins to turn his world inside out. Alan takes a liking to her, but she does not return the affection and pushes his boundaries (and pretense of sanity).
A majority of the film is unveiled through the use of Alan’s own footage, similar to found-footage movies or crime documentaries. It works nicely here as one of Alan’s many quarks is he loves to film everything because he seems to think everything he does is a performance of some kind (“All the world’s a stage” as it were). The only downside that some might see for this type of film style is some of the deaths occur off-screen; I did not mind this too much, there are plenty of gut-wrenching deaths on screen and the stationary camera(s) gives the movie a more realistic feel.
Spliced throughout the film is some interview footage and audition footage either about Alan or featuring Alan. The interview footage might be considered a spoiler as it does reveal a survivor early on, but it increases the depth and context of the characters or story.
Daniel O’Meara (Under the Skim, John Carter) portrays the menacing Alan Miller perfectly. In every scene featuring him with another character, you can feel the tension rising quickly. Daniel was very believable; to the point that I might be cautious if I were to meet him in person. Eric Roberts (Heroes, Doctor Who, many others) also stars playing himself and Alan’s apparently only life-long friend. Whether or not this is a true-to-life or fictionalized version of himself is beyond my knowledge; but it is fascinating seeing a “real world” actor talking with Alan about Hollywood; again, it enhances the realism. I liked that his scenes had some self-deprecating humor as well, as in his line “83.85 percent of every movie I’ve been in was s**t”.
Deadly Famous will not be included in that 83.85% by me. I thought it was captivating and suspenseful. Almost certainly worth a look for most thriller fans.