THE BEACH HOUSE
US. 2019. Drama/Horror
Director: Jeffrey A. Brown
Cast: Liana Liberato (Emily), Noah Le Gros (Randall), Jake Weber (Mitch)
Natural horror twist
Natural Horror is a subgenre of Horror, where mother nature goes crazy and brings the most diverse kind of creations to end the terrestrial virus that is the human being. Usually, we relate this sub-genre to giant monsters, rabid predators, or armies of insects, birds, or amphibians. But there are other smaller creatures, that despite their minuscule size, are much, much more deadly: Microbes. The Beach House examines this sort of threat in an intimate and well-told little story.
Not so pleasing vacation trip
Emily and Randall are a young couple about to spend a few days at Randall’s father’s beach house. While Emily wants to continue her studies by studying astrobiology at university, Randall has given up on continuing her studies. Initially believing they were alone in the house, they run into Mitch and Jane. They are a mature couple and old friends of Randall’s father, who they asked the favor of residing for a few days at the same house. Because Jane suffers from a grave illness a few days at the beach would be beneficial for her health.
The two couples have a pleasant dinner in which they share stories, alcohol, and some edible marijuana. Afterward, they go out to enjoy the night even under the effects of what they ingested and begin to observe beautiful and tiny luminous particles that originate in the sea and are carried by the breeze, beginning to permeate the trees and houses on the land. They unknowingly are going to have a night that will change their lives.
The Beach House is the first feature film by Jeffrey A Brown, who also writes. The commitment and love for this project on the part of Brown are unquestionable. As a director, he manages to give us some good shots and a fluid story. Recognizes how to take advantage of the environment around him very well and becomes a fundamental part of the narrative. A place he knows well, the film made in North Truro, Massachusetts, at the beach house owned by his father. The story is coherent, giving dialogues a down-to-earth feeling. Being an independent production, the money they had was not much, and that hampered the ambitions of where and how far they could take the story. The story is competently narrated, but there are not so many shocks.
Another achievement of Brown is that he got good performances from all the actors. Liana Liberato does her part convincingly as the sensitive but determined Emily. The compromise in the project is evident in Jake Weber as the protector Mitch. CGI special effects are few but nice looking. The film relies more on practical special effects well-executed. A high point in the movie is a scene when a parasite needs to be surgically removed from a wound. This scene is very well done and has a good level of tension conceived by the director and performed by the actress. You can see the definite influence of David Cronenberg and his body horror subgenre throughout the film.
Made with care.
The Beach House is a film made with affection. Everyone who was involved commits. Perhaps the most significant deficiency is in the very limitations that they imposed on themselves. Although the story is solid, there are not many memorable moments. Brown is talented, and perhaps with a bigger budget, he could have gotten more out of the intriguing premise. This one is not for fans of jump scare flicks. Indie fans and those who can relate to more small, intimate stories will like it more. Even though this intimacy is somewhat sick and contaminated.
Many elements are well accomplished in this little sci-fi film. Not many shocks. For fans of natural horror.