By: Michelle Halloween
From the Producers of Take Shelter and The Signal; THE BEACH HOUSE stars Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, Jake Weber, and Maryann Nagel. Written and directed by Jeffrey A. Brown, THE BEACH HOUSE is an eerie horror film that depicts how fragile humanity is, and how life itself can be altered, literally, over night.
Emily (Liberato) and Randall (Le Gros) escape to Randall’s father’s beach house to try and work out the kinks in their relationship. The young duo wake up from the first night to find Mitch (Weber) and Jane (Nagel), an older, timid couple also occupying the home. It is discovered that the older couple are friends of Randall’s father, so the four decide to stick the weekend out together.
They spend the evening getting to know each other over dinner, music, drinks, and “edibles.” The night progresses with deep conversations about human evolution, and how we came into existence because of the right set of biological circumstances. Emily begins to unknowingly foreshadow what comes next for both couples.
As the evening progresses, the couples’ altered senses beget confusion, as there is a mysterious fog that rolls in and envelops the entire coast. The next hour of the film thrusts both couples into disorientation, mysterious illness, and, subsequently, the struggle to survive.
THE BEACH HOUSE casts an unsettling ambience from the moment Jane and Mitch enter the scene. Even though Randall is very unlikable, the focus is on Mitch and Jane, since it’s hard to determine if something more is up with them. You can almost feel the heat and unnatural humidity in the setting, as you question what is happening to the characters.
Madness seems to render everyone grossly incapacitated - everyone, that is, except for Emily, who carries the rest of the characters’ weight, despite being wounded and ill herself. She is the only one who is able to “cringe and bear” the slimy invaders and terrifying, afflicted humans.
Who doesn’t love to see a strong, female protagonist? Emily knows the best survival techniques, and has the best ideas for keeping everyone alive. It’s easy to forget that the entire reason she and Randall were at the beach house was to work on their relationship. Now they have to fight to stay alive.
The film offers the psychedelic anxiety beloved of any horror film. The slow agony of the protagonists leaves you wanting to keep your COVID-19 masks at the ready. THE BEACH HOUSE is a horror film that relishes in throwing the viewers into chaos and confusion. Even Emily, who has knowledge of biology and chemistry, has trouble obtaining information about what’s going on. Therefore, the film is slow-paced, and, at times, agonizing to watch. Viewers will know the greater scheme of what is happening, but still question exactly what the human threat is.
In the tradition of films like The Mist, and, more recently, Color Out of Space, THE BEACH HOUSE is a disaster horror film that turns the humans into monsters. The next time you decide to take that vacation, be sure to check for mysterious guests, and brush up on your survival skills. Under the right conditions, one night can alter the biology of relationships... and an entire coastline.
THE BEACH HOUSE will be available on to stream on AMC's Shudder July 9th!