Jeffrey A. Brown (director)
09 July 2020 (released)
08 July 2020
It’s what almost every young couple dream of: a cabin on the beach to enjoy the privacy, being able to step out onto the sand and take a dip in the sea. But the house has seen better days and it looks beaten and weather blasted, it also has people staying there. Friends of the family but not what they expected, or wanted.
So starts The Beach House when Emily (Liana Liberato) and Randall (Noah Le Gros) turn up at his father’s beach house only to find Mitch (Jake Webber) and Jane (Maryann Nagel) there. A double booking and no-one is going to leave. Luckily they can all be accommodated; irritating but manageable.
As the couples settle down to eat and then take drugs when the wine runs out we learn that not all is well between Emily and Randy. Emily is focused on her ambitions and academic, while Randall is privileged enough to be the complete opposite and able to drop out of almost everything and now looking to lead a rich dosser’s life.
There’s clear tension between them and as the night progresses the couple’s pair off though not in any sexual way just drifting towards common interests. They begin hallucinating, though the strange mist coming in from the sea isn’t drug induced and neither are the dust motes, bad smell and slime that accompanies it. The hallucinatory effects with heavy use of red, blue and green give this sequence a distinctly 70’s vibe as the house’s occupants deal with their situations.
The morning brings memories of a bad dream for Emily, Jane is at the pill bottles and Mitch has disappeared. A walk on the beach doesn’t do much for Randall who is taken ill while Mitch reappears, completely out of it, stripping off then running into the sea. Emily is the only one that doesn’t appear that effected though stepping on a jellyfish type creature, lets a worm like creature work its way into her foot that has to extracted. Nasty. It soon becomes apparent that something very strange is going on and not confined to the beach area.
A curious and original film that flirts with Sci-Fi and horror – both physical and psychological - with some other social and environmental points tossed in for good measure. That doesn’t mean that it has no sense of direction just that if flicks those switches as it gets to its final destination. And overall this is not bad at all from debut director and writer Jeffrey A. Brown who keeps the plot and the pace steady building up a good element of anticipation to where this is all going. It’s certainly atmospheric with excellent use of sound and colour, though there’s not much in the way of actual tension or dread, though there is some gruesome body horror.
As to the characters they are pretty stock an ageing hippish couple and young lovers that find some common ground between them as individuals passing on their experience. However plaudits to Le Gros for making Randall so appalling thus channelling our sympathies towards Emily sensitively played by Liberato.
The Beach House will be on Shudder from 9 July.