July 9th, 2020
MOVIE: THE BEACH HOUSE
STARRING: LIANA LIBERATO; NOAH LE GROS; JAKE WEBER; MARYANN NAGEL
DIRECTED BY: JEFFREY A. BROWN
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
The Beach House is a horror movie arriving at the right time. At any other moment it would still be considered an awesome, Lovecraft-style horror movie, but now it feels incredibly current, almost a warning for us to be afraid of the things we cannot see. It begins with Emily (Liana Liberato) and Randall (Noah Le Gros), two college kids trying to save their relationship by getting away to Randall’s family beach house for the weekend. Things start nice, with some romance between the two, but they soon realize that Mitch (Jake Weber) and Jane (Maryann Nagel)- old friends of the family- have already been staying at the house for their own relaxation. No reason to ruin the weekend, so the two couples decide to have a friendly dinner, enjoy the libations, but soon the high starts to feel weird. Something is in the air, something that makes everyone sick. The Beach House is the directorial debut for Jeffrey A. Brown and what a hit this is. Things turn into a nightmare fast and it’s the kind of movie that will make everyone think twice about going into the water when the beaches are open again.
It’s hard to pinpoint what films reminded me of The Beach House, but the most recent is the Nicolas Cage/Lovecraft movie Color Out of Space. That was a movie that revealed to us that something fell from the sky and started turning the earth into an alien lifeform. In The Beach House, the threat is right outside the window, but nobody knows it yet. After dinner ends, Emily and Randall step outside to look at the ocean and see a bright illuminating light on the plants, on the shore, and floating in the water. It’s actually quite beautiful and it’s also in the water source. After the dinner things start happening and by the next day it goes from looking like a bad high, maybe just food poisoning, to things oozing from peoples eyes.
What I exceptionally enjoyed about The Beach House, also written by Brown, is that it has three different genre styles mixed together. First it looks like it could be an isolated drama between a couple fighting through differences. The work from Liana Liberato carries the film, playing the more responsible thinker, a character that has depth, but also saddled with experiencing the terror. The second style is zombie-like, a virus attacking each character and the environment around them. We hear weird stomach growls, see worm-like substances washing up on the shore, bloody eyes, and nowhere to escape. The third act is like a haunted house or an escape plan comes into play, with Emily and Mitch looking for a way to outrun the virus. Most horror films have characters fighting to get out of the house, The Beach House brilliantly has these characters fighting just to get back in.
The Beach House is taught, thrilling, and an awesome mix of gooey gore. Director Jeffrey A. Brown is ahead of the game, succeeding in multiple ways, including location isolation, which reminded me of John Carpenter’s The Fog, especially when the smokey substance rolls in, like a coat of death, just waiting to breed mutant zombies. It’s a fascinating and meta movie to have released today. I guess you could say that it’s important to take precautions when a mysterious virus starts messing people up. Then again, I guess you wouldn’t want a bunch of flesh eating worms to be infringing on your freedom to go to the beach. By all means go, just don’t complain when it all ends. The Beach House is the warning movie all Americans must-see.
Written by: Leo Brady