Do the dead speak? Starfish and the types of grief

The dead don't really speak to us, and if they did they would have nothing to say. Grief is a definitive human experience.  It is something that we all share, yet it's personal and even unique . No two people experience grief in the same way. Starfish understands this.

On the surface it's a horror film; an end of the world tale. It truth, though, it's more of a meditation on grief and the isolation that it breeds.

Virginia Gardner plays Aubrey,  a young woman who has returned home to attend her best friend's funeral . After the service she breaks into her dead friend's apartment and spends the night there.  This attempt to feel close to her friend doesn't really help.

When she awakes , it seems that the world has ended. Strange creatures, Lovecraftian monsters really, roam the empty streets. A vouce over a walkie talkie tells her that a mysterious signal has opened doors and allowed these things into our world.

Soon Aubrey is on a scavenger hunt, looking for mix tapes her friend hid in places that figured into their history together.  She needs to piece together the parts of the signal to close the doors.

The film becomes increasingly surreal,  even veering into the meta at a few points. There is an animated section that is almost jarring .

We in the audience have to grapple with questions about if any of this is real, or if Aubrey is disassociating in her grief and loneliness.

This film will not provide any easy answers.  It will give us a beautiful portrait of loss and how one woman processes it.

Starfish isn't an easy movie,  and it rejects trite classification.  More art than commerce, it hypnotizes with its languorous rythms.

-Nathan Tyree