Dir. A.T. White
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Firstly, yes this is a slow paced indie. However, let the negativity stop there. This is a film best suited when you have downtime and nothing to do or expect.
Secondly, a huge thanks to the queens of horror, the Soska Twins, for letting us know this film even existed. Credit for sharing small independent films, it’s hard to really know what is out there outside of the cinema market and in 2020, any avenue to see film is appreciated more than ever, a year where film is key for escape and reflection but also where we can console.
Virginia Gardner plays Aubrey who awakens after the rest of the world has disappeared. Accompanied on a hide and seek with other monsters and a mission to unearth how this happened is her quest and what linear story the film follows.
As for the depth and heart of STARFISH, this is first and foremost a movie of grief, one of downtrodden hopelessness and one with a heartfelt presence if you are willing to sit back and take in the cinematic glory A.T. White has on display.
When wishing for everyone to simply go away is a metaphor, I think everyone can relate, but when you are in realisation, the quest to return to “normality” is the grounded notion that we all need company and is the pinnacle of STARFISH’ motive.
While not primarily a horror, there are certainly tones. The isolation (seen often in the zombie genre), the walking monsters (creatively crafted) and the notion that something isn’t right all carry the film and suspense until the very end. And yet STARFISH may alienate many horror fans seeking a gory dredge of the undead or a crafty communicator with an alternative motive but what lies here is a beast that is real, internal turmoil. The horror is no high here but is enough to lure you in.
Gardner is hypnotic in the lead and pretty much carries the film, with A.T. White at the helm of writing, directing and scoring this beast, it’s really a one man and one woman show.
Starfish doesn’t always hit the notes but for those willing to give it a try, and take it with no expectation will certainly hit on a little gem and one that puts A.T. White on the landscape.