The Beach House is a horror movie that puts us right in the characters shoes. A horror movie that only reveals what is happening when the characters discover what is happening. It’s creepy, it’s eerie, and it’s constantly suspenseful as we try to figure out is happening before our characters do. How good these kind of movies are depends on how good the finale is. Was the final reveal worth the mystery for the last 90 minutes? For The Beach House, they never actually reveal why the things that are happening actually happen, which is actually a good thing.
Emily (Liana Liberato) and Randall (Noah Le Gros) are troubled, college-age lovers who head to Randall’s family beach house for a weekend getaway to improve their relationship. When Mitch (Jake Weber) and Jane (Maryanne Nagle), two people who are friends with Randall’s parents, are unexpectedly staying at the beach house as well, Emily and Randall decide to make the best of their situation. But after a night of drinking and taking some edibles, things start to get really weird and Emily and Randall soon realize they are in a battle for survival.
After finishing the movie and even still thinking about it, I still can’t exactly figure out what happened or what was going on. You know what? I like that. I like that I don’t know what was really happening or know why it was happening. I’m glad there wasn’t an expositional scientist who randomly showed up to explain every single detail.
This is a movie that starts of rather slow, as we learn about Emily and Randall’s relationship and see them bond with the Mitch and Jane. But after the night of drinking and edibles is when the movie really picks up. What I anticipated being a film that would rely on jump-scares actually has very few of those and instead turns into a gross body-horror film, which was a pleasant surprise. Some of the things that happen to our characters are genuinely gross and will make you squirm in your seat.
When the movie shifts towards the body-horror, it does forget everything else about the movie, namely the relationship struggles of Emily and Randall. Liberato and Le Gros give solid performances, but I really wanted to see their relationship issues come more into effect as they are trying save themselves. We also barely get to know Mitch and Jane, which could have added some more tension or emotion if they were developed a bit more.
And at the end of the day, the reveal of what was actually going on is still a mystery and I love that the movie ended this way. The Beach House is a deliberately paced film with some horrifically gross sequences. Though pretty shallow in its story, this is a fun horror movie that never gives itself away.
The Beach House played in the FEATURES category at the 2020 Chattanooga Film Festival.
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