Aubrey Parker (Virginia Gardner) has come home for the funeral of her best friend, Grace, whose death makes her feel tremendously guilty for her. She has many regrets and wallows in her misery. When she breaks into Grace’s apartment, her descent into depression is interrupted by something monstrous.
Without giving away spoilers about what happens, this is almost an impossible film to summarize. “Starfish” is filled with uncertainty and it works very well works surprisingly well in this case. It seems there is some kind of signal occurring from a source beyond our comprehension. Grace though that a signal had been recorded and played back in a corrupted form causing caused her hideous state of things.
She was well aware of whatever theories regarding the signal. It seems that Grace had stashed recordings of it in seven locations that held tremendous personal significance for her and Parker. Collecting and compiling those mixtapes could be the key to everything, but the process will sends Parker spiraling down into her memory and subconscious.
Director AT White keeps us disoriented, but completely locked in every step of the way. His command of mood and texture, along with the otherworldly cinematography keep us involved with what we see. Christina Masterson who only appears briefly as Grace, is also acutely felt throughout the film.
Much of the film involves intangibles in this melancholy film moves between the genres of science fiction and horror. We have ideas around signaling and communication between dimensions yet this remains an under-explored area of science fiction. “Starfish” mixes this with the experience of grief and, while we can see the entire film as Aubrey’s hallucinatory response to loss, her attempt to make sense of the innately unreasonable business of death. There are images of starfish throughout that remind us of the strangeness of the world and causes us to think about what else might be possible.
Focus is kept on Aubrey’s emotional response to what’s happening around her. Aubrey’s conscious efforts to manage her emotional experience reflect her journey through grief. We feel Grace’s presence as a character and as an influence Aubrey cannot escape. Grace had discovered something, says the voice on the radio. It’s up to Aubrey to try and make sense of it.
Aubrey has her own legacy of guilt to deal with and we are kept guessing and cheering her on. When she enters Grace’s apartment, she promptly retreats from the world and immerses herself in what’s left of Grace’s by going through her property and listening to her music.
Then extra-dimensional creatures invade Earth and Aubrey is surprised to discover that her childhood pal’s ephemera might contain the clues to help her save humanity … if she can get over her grief long enough to get up and so something.
Not everything in “Starfish” works. The many frequent flashbacks and dream sequences seem arbitrary and the way the long shots of Aubrey looking sad often seem bothersome. Nonetheless, Gardner is excellent throughout; and perhaps the best thing about “Starfish” is that it’s so hard to figure out what kind of film it really is.
This Deluxe Blu-ray Edition contains nearly 3 hours of brand new bonus features, 2 commentary tracks, and a CD of STARFISH’s beautiful score.
- Bonus CD with STARFISH’s Score.
- Reversible Cover Art
- 2 Audio Commentaries:
- – Director A.T. White and Director of Photography Alberto Bañares.
- – Director A.T. White and ‘We Are Geeks’
- Making-Of Featurette. (59 minutes)
- Deleted Scenes (22 minutes).
- 2 Q&As at the Alamo Drafthouse (69 minutes).
- ‘The Tortoises’ Featurette.
- Music Video: Ghostlight – “Racehorse”.
- Starfish Test Sizzle.
- Aminated Comparison
- Director Introduction.
- Blu-ray Trailer.
- Festival Teaser Trailer.
- Other Trailers.