Note: This was originally published on March 6, 2019 on horror-writers.com
Directed by: A.T. White
Starring: Virginia Gardner
Synopsis: Gardner stars as Aubrey, a young woman suffering from the death of a close friend. When a mysterious signal from an unknown dimension summons the end of days, its appears as if only Aubrey is left on earth. Trapped in the apartment of her recently deceased best friend, the only clue she has is a single cassette left behind after her friends death, labeled: “THIS MIXTAPE WILL SAVE THE WORLD.”
A.T White has written, directed and scored a haunting, beautiful and what appears to be deeply personal film about the stages of grief and how to deal with loss. If you mixed Silent Hill 3, Lovecraft and art house cinema together this is what you’d get.
Virginia Gardner gives an astounding performance as Aubrey, a young woman struggling to come to terms with the death of her friend. For the entire run time of the movie, we watch her navigate the many different manifestations of grief. The loss of desire, the need to fix everything, the feeling disjointed and the belief that some grand quest or action can fix everything going on inside of us. Her performance is equally heart breaking and wholly believable.
There are a lot of bold directing choices made, but each one is done with near perfection. There’s a scene where the film transitions from live-action to animated and it is done so naturally you’d be forgiven for wondering if the entire film was a cartoon and questioning whether or not what came before it was a fever dream of imagery and music.
The original score coupled with some excellent choices (Sea of Teeth by Sparklehorse has long been one of my favourite songs so seeing it used here made me smile) effectively add to the narrative without overpowering the main story. It’s a difficult balance to achieve but once again it’s pulled off really well in Starfish.
Starfish is a beautiful film, probably the most beautiful horror film I’ve ever seen. It’s touring begins March 13th before hitting VOD in May and if you have a chance to see it, I can’t recommend enough that you do.