Movie Review: The Beach House (2019)

Written and directed by Jeffrey A. Brown in his feature film debut, The Beach House is a 2019 horror film. As Randall (Noah Le Gros) and Emily (Liana Liberato) head to Randall’s father beach house for a getaway, they soon find that a pair of Randall’s father’s friends have also arrived, Mitch (Jake Weber, Medium, one of those “hey it’s that guy” actors) and his unwell wife, Jane (Maryann Nagel). Opting to share the spacious vacation home, something strange soon begins to spread along the coastline, and into – or from – the water.

+ all of the only four actors play their parts well, with Liberato and Weber being the standouts. There is limited characterisation overall, and frankly none of the characters themselves are anything special, but in a way that is kind of the point: horrible and horror-ble things don’t only happen to specific types of people
+ the tension really builds as the atmosphere goes from normal>uncomfortable>weird>horror so gradually you’ll almost be lulled into a false sense of security. One moment of particular disgustingness turns the movie up a notch, and the pace rarely lets up from there. I had to look away and then watch through my fingers at that immediate aftermath, and then had to second guess watching too closely any point going forward
+ the effects of the spreading ‘whatever-it-is’ across the beach is equal parts beautiful and terrifying, like the best horror always is. As someone with bad asthma, the way the cast spends so much time coughing and wheezing in some fog made me particularly claustrophobic, so bonus points for that. There are a few clear “horror” sub-genres I could call upon to get the point across, but I think it’s better seen than read

– there is a fair bit of ambiguity here, and I know that can be a turn off for many people. I was not as bothered by it for once, despite my usual disdain for unanswered questions, so make of that what you will

> also of note is that I personally hate beaches, so even if nothing had gone wrong for our friendly protagonists, I’d still consider the movie a horror

Should you see this film: I don’t know of many other horror films that have actually caused me have to watch through my fingers, though it may not be for the reason you are thinking. Still, that deserves some credit and I had no regrets having watched this; a very strong debut for director Jeffrey A. Brown.


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