CHATTANOOGA FILM FEST 2020: ‘The Beach House’ Excels in Simplicity

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The Beach House

Recently acquired by AMC’s horror streaming service, Shudder, The Beach House is a thrilling seaside horror with cosmic elements. After making it’s North American debut earlier this year as the opening night film at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, The Beach House is shaking audiences as one of the films offered during the Chattanooga Film Festival, now happening entirely online.

The Beach House is writer-director Jeffrey A. Brown‘s debut film and it stars Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, Jake Weber and Maryanne Nagel. In the film, we meet Emily (Liana Liberato) and Randall (Noah Le Gros) who are hoping to reignite their relationship. When they arrive at their weekend getaway only to discover a peculiar older couple that claims to know Randall’s dad is set to stay there too. Not looking to inconvenience anyone’s romantic time away, they all agree to share the home. What starts off as an indulgent night fueled by edibles turns nightmarish when they wake up the next day.

The film is a bare bones take on blending science fiction and horror. The setting is simple like the title shows and the story is propelled by Liberato’s performance as Emily. A slow-burning narrative, the opening of The Beach House revolves around the couples’ conversations before and after taking drugs. What seems like a small slice of life is instead powerful foreshadowing as Emily details the fragility of life, astrobiology, and human biology. The Beach House

While the opening The Beach House is hard to really dig your teeth into, at the beginning of the second act Brown gradually applies pressure to the film’s pedal until it’s slammed against the floor. The slow fall into fear is masterfully executed. There is a move from melodrama to body horror that is not only believable through the effects usage, but jarring as well. Brown lets nature bring life into each frame, with the beach and ocean breathing on film as the human characters are increasingly made small.

The simplicity of The Beach House shines through its small moments when Emily is the only one on screen, as she fights for survival against the apocalyptic event and thinks her way through situations. Additionally, the film becomes a beautiful Lovecraftian cosmic horror through Brown’s use of colors, mist, and the unknown. By the end of The Beach House a grounded story about people turns into a cataclysmic story filled with futility. This transition from one to the next is gorgeously depicted visually and narratively as well as Emily grows weaker, leaving us with an emotional and stunning end.

This is a film best gone into with no knowledge of what is to come. Allowing yourself to be taken by Brown’s mystery is a part of the film’s power and beauty. Between the Lovecraftian overtones and Liberato’s performance, The Beach House offers up beautifully shot terror and will make you think before opening your door.

The Beach House is set to stream exclusively on Shudder later in 2020. Need a Shudder subscription? Grab one with our Shudder affiliate link.

The Beach House
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

This is a film best gone into with no knowledge of what is to come. Allowing yourself to be taken by Brown’s mystery is a part of the film’s power and beauty. Between the Lovecraftian overtones and Liberato’s performance, The Beach House offers up beautifully shot terror and will make you think before opening your door.