Horrortoberfest ’20 Day 19 – Starfish (2018)


This week goes a bit more lo-fi on the Tech Week theme with a movie that centers around mix tapes and music. I love a good “end of the world” type scenario that this movie promised and having the answer be found in tapes seemed like such an interesting idea. But can the blend of music and monsters deliver a satisfying horror movie? Well, I suppose that’s going to depend on what you’re expecting.

Aubrey is attending the funeral for her best friend, Grace, and spends the night in her now empty loft. Over night, something has happened and the world has changed. Everything is covered in snow, people are gone, and monsters seem to be prowling the streets. When Aubrey finds a tape that Grace left her titled “This mixtape will save the world”; she learns that there is a signal that has been occurring for centuries and that it is possibly what has caused the current situation. Now, Aubrey needs to find the pieces of the signal that have been hidden in 7 tapes around town to hopefully save the world.

Now that sounds like a super interesting horror movie and one that I would be interested in. However, this movie is much more like a mix tape itself than a coherent story. It is a jumble of styles, imagery, and character that ultimately wants more to impart a specific mood than tell a compelling narrative. With a focus on indie music and dealing with heavy emotions, this feels more like The Mist as brought to you by Zack Braff. If all of that sounds like something you would be interested in, then go for it. As for myself, I just couldn’t get into movie and every time it seemed like it was beginning to focus again, it would play some indie song and devolve into snippets of backstory and flashes of scenery like the world’s most pretentious music video.

I definitely need to give credit to Virginia Gardner as Aubrey in this film as it is almost 100% just her wandering around this jumble of a plot. She manages to convey plenty of emotion and is compelling enough that the movie isn’t entirely garbage. The few times we see the monsters, they are creepy and otherworldly which, sadly, makes me all the more disappointed that they have almost nothing to do here. In a move where the premise is extradimensional creatures have invaded our world through soundwaves; having so much time given over to a character being sad about cheating on her husband just feels weird.

Ultimately, this is a movie about grief and loneliness. While I didn’t much care for it, I can see there being people out there that would enjoy the more surreal, esoteric vibe that this movie gives off. If you’re looking for a fun Halloween romp, though, this isn’t it.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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