Aubrey Parker ( Virginia Gardner ) comes to the funeral of her close friend, Grace. She is obviously in grief and very uncomfortable to a point of being psychologically volatile. In the spur of the moment she breaks into Grace’s diner-cum-apartment building. While taking care of her friend’s pets she hopes that rummaging through personal effects of Grace would make it easier to deal with the mourning. Aubrey spends the night alone and wakes up to the world frozen over, invaded by strange creatures. What’s more, all people have disappeared without a trace. Aubrey must navigate the empty town with only mixtapes Grace left behind for her. Will she manage to survive?
The more I think about it the more it seems to me that this movie wanted to say a lot and somehow failed to get its message across. With not especially coherent narrative and haunting music score I think I was supposed to be scared. Only I wasn’t. The problem is Starfish doesn’t have quite enough science fiction to call it a science fiction film, nor enough horror to call it a horror film – forget about any similarities with the book of Peter Watts of the same title.
I admit it, Virginia Gardner managed to make me emotionally invested in the story and empty, snowy landscapes were a joy to look at, especially with very hot, dry weather plaguing me at my place. I also liked the olde-worlde, almost forgotten casette recorders, rotary telephones and such. Still I resented the fact that the narrative kept all the important information on a verly slow drip and some questions were never answered at all.
An interesting movie which I wouldn’t like to rewatch, Starfish is less a story and more of an exorcism of personal loss by way of a cinematic musical mixtape. I admit the concept seems cool enough, but didn’t always work in my case. And it left me in a very melancholic mood.