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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Review: The Beach House

Director: Jeffrey A. Brown
Screenplay: Jeffrey A. Brown
Year: 2020

Emily and Randall are a young couple whose relationship is not going through its best moment. With the intention of working in their relationship, they go to spend a few days in a beach house. Their plans suddenly change when they realize that there are other people in the beach house and when the area starts being affected by some strange organisms that seem to be carriers of an infection. 

Since Emily (Liana Liberato, “If I Stay”) and Randall (Noah Le Gros, “Depraved”) arrive at the beach house, the desolation that envelops the attractive beach and its surroundings start working on the tense and out of place ambient that lingers throughout the whole duration of the movie. This tension increases once we get to know the protagonists some more and we see how diametrically different their ambitions and opinions are, and also when we get to know the other occupants of the house, that end up being acquaintances of Randall’s father and with whom they spend the night. During that night they all decide to ingest edibles and talk about astrobiology, which gives way to the night taking a strange turn and they all to behave differently the next day.

Jeffrey A. Brown, director and screenwriter of the movie, through the astrobiology and origins of Earth talk that the protagonists have, exposes the basis of his plot, which involves an invasion of microorganisms. However, it is never revealed from where or why these organisms appear, and it becomes routine through the movie to leave ideas half-baked. From long scenes that lead nowhere or ideas that pop up and are never addressed later, Brown presents a screenplay that consistently feels inconclusive and its reach extends to the very end, which is the maximum expression of this issue. 

“The Beach House” is a movie that depends big time on the development of its characters and even the precarious situation that the protagonists live and that shapes the plot is developed through them. For this reason, the cast has a great responsibility that they fully accomplish, as this movie works if you get to put yourself in the shoes of the characters and you can feel the anxiety of what it would be to live an event like this having no idea where did these organisms come from, why it is happening or how to protect yourself. Besides the protagonists interpreted by Liberato and Le Gros, Jack Weber (“Dawn of the Dead”) and Maryann Nagel complete the minimalistic but effective cast that manages to carry the movie even in its slowest parts.

As it often happens in these sorts of movies that depend too much on character development, the plot development becomes slow and can be exasperating for those looking for some more action or that do not care about the characters. If we also add up the number of moments and scenes that end up inconclusive or without pay off, it’s safe to say that this movie will have plenty of detractors. That being said, it is worth making it to the last act, that is where the story takes off and become much more intense and showcases its excellent special effects.

“The Beach House” suffers from slow development and leaves many inconclusive things through its plot. The atmosphere that is established from the beginning and the great acting are key for the viewer to endure the slowest parts and become interested in the story and the outcome of the characters. During the third act, the story becomes much more entertaining as it leans towards the cosmic horror realm, but it continues its pattern of leaving stuff inconclusive and without payoff until the very end.

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