We’re currently living in an age where the horror genre is just dominating. Not since the 1930s has the genre been this mainstream. You would think that would make a horror fan happy, but all of the movies coming out are a little too pretentious for my taste. Luckily, the Shudder original, The Beach House is here to give the genre back to the casual viewers and die-hard fans.
The story revolves around a young couple, Randall (Noah Le Gros) and Emily (Liana Liberato) who make plans to stay at his father’s beach house. The pair find that family friends Mitch (Jake Weber) and Jane (Maryann Nagel) are also staying the weekend. The couples agree to share the vacation house. Randall and Emily slowly learn that there is something very wrong with Mitch, Jane, and the beach itself.
The Beach House is kind of a slow burner. It took some time for the action to kick off, but I didn’t mind. Usually, when I show friends classic horror films, the biggest complaint is that they’re “too slow.” There’s totally some truth in that, but maybe today’s movies are too fast. The slow moments in The Beach House really made me feel like I was getting to know the characters and landscape. When the horror finally comes in, it felt like I was being rewarded. The wait totally pays off!
For all the things in this movie that I really liked, there’s just as much as I disliked. There’s a lot of exposition that never gets any explanation or payoff. Early in the movie, Emily hints that the two have had some problems, but the movie never explained or fleshes this out. I don’t mind it so much when this happens in the “So Bad, It’s Good” genre. But The Beach House isn’t a B-Movie. The writers could have left that one, seemingly large, detail out and nothing would have been the slightest bit different. The ending scene leaves a lot for interpretation but seemed a little unnecessary.
Anyone who has read my past reviews can tell you I’m a huge special effects nerd. I’ve been very vocal about my dislike of CGI in modern horror. This is an area where The Beach House really delivers. The film isn’t effects-heavy in the slightest. But when the effects are present, they make a mark! It’s not a gore fest by any means, but it will make weaker stomachs churn. The movie isn’t entirely CGI free, but it’s done for shots and scenes that need it. It’s used as a necessity and not a crutch.
Modern horror has seemed to alienate casual fans by becoming just a tad too artsy. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Midsommar and Hereditary, but they’ve brought film snobs out of the woodworks in droves. The Beach House is a fun movie for casual and die-hard horror fans. There’s enough symbolism and fun shots for the film snob while being simple enough for someone who just wants to sit back and not think. I’d even say it gets a tad bit Lovecraftian! The Beach House has something for everyone. – Derek Flores
The film stars Noah Le Gros, Liana Liberato, Jake Weber, and Maryann Nagel.
The Beach House is available to stream on Shudder.
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