Starfish Movie Review

Written by Joanna K. Neilson

Released by Spellbound Entertainment

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Written and directed by A.T. White
2018, 99 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Released on 15th March 2019

Virginia Gardner as Aubrey
Christina Masterson as Grace
Eric Beecroft as Edward
Natalie Mitchell as Alice
Shannon Hollander as Charlotte


When Aubrey crawls into a shell of self-indulgent grief over the death of her close friend, it's only natural she'd welcome some post-apocalyptic isolation. When that isolation becomes more literal and more surreal with every passing moment, she has to take it upon herself to understand what her beloved dead friend was trying to tell her.

And what is the strange man on the two-way radio really trying to warn her about?

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The only thing for it is to find all the tapes her deceased friend has scattered around town for her to discover, and put the cut-up puzzle back together herself. But solving the mix-tape is really just an excuse for increasingly strange things to happen. And when they do start to happen, it's time to pay attention - then run like hell.

Appropriately Starfish is, itself, a dreamy mix-tape of horror ideas, taking spools of inspiration from Silent Hill, The Mist, Night of the Comet and even The Endless. There’s also a dash of the relentless, sundrenched pursuit vibe from It Follows. And while it seems to take a long time, at first, for anything to actually occur (although Aubrey is hardly hard to watch), once the horror kicks in, the film really comes to life, including a breathtaking animated sequence that really made me sit up and take notice.

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That said, this is often slow and sad and beautiful. So perhaps the pace won’t be for everyone. This could be called Lovecraftian, and there are hideous things lurking, but it is NOT the gore-fest of The Beyond or the playful wackiness of Re-animator. Starfish is something far lonelier and darker and sadder, and a much more a legitimate 'cosmic' horror, sensibly brought down to a relatable human scale - which I personally find is, almost always, the best approach to the fantastic horror genre.

A dreamlike survivalist fantasy with enough impressive monsters and beautiful moments to make it worthy of a watch, Starfish is a beautiful piece of film that rewards just a little patience, and is crafted with a clear love of people and their weaknesses, plus a healthy respect for the terrible monsters that grief can awaken.

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Much like the debilitating grief of its main character, just when you think you have Starfish all figured out, it takes a sharp turn into something else entirely - and even teases something ahead that's either something much, much worse - or exactly what was needed all along.

This comes highly recommended. Starfish is fantastic, and frankly I'd find it difficult not to love a film that claims, ‘This mixtape will save the world’. So dive right in, and prepare to experience a moving story full of sweet surrealism and gorgeous visuals.


Movie: 4 Star Rating Cover

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