For a movie this weird, Starfish has a lot of obvious influences. Following the death of a close friend, Aubrey (Virginia Gardner) hunkers down in the friend’s apartment to mourn. The next morning, she awakens to an apocalypse—complete with calamitous climate change and toothy monsters. And so there are bits of Annihilation, Upstream Color, Donnie Darko, and the 2010 low-budget creature feature Monsters at play. That’s ambitious company for a first-time feature director, but A.T. White—who also wrote the screenplay and composed the mournful score—makes an admirable play to be considered in the same category. Starfish merges music, memory, dreams, and science fiction in elegantly inventive ways. At one point, the ocean waves from the dream Aubrey is having wash up on the apartment’s floor. Later, as she flicks a light on and off while lying in bed, her friend (Christina Masterson) briefly appears next to her, then disappears. Often the oddities happen so quickly you might not notice them, as when the red stripe on a straw Aubrey is holding slowly begins to unravel. Starfish truly charts its own territory during a striking animated segment in the midst of a monster attack, which at once advances the action and functions as a dream. And then there is the meta moment where Aubrey steps off the set of Starfish and finds herself consulting with the director in a nearby room. Does all of this make sense? Enough. In fact, as Starfish becomes a more obvious personal metaphor involving betrayal and forgiveness, it also becomes a bit less interesting—even as it still marks White as an ambitious talent to watch.