Randell (Noah Le Gros) and Emily (Liana Liberato) are a young couple who have travelled to a remote beach house owned by the former’s father. They’re there to spend some time together and see if they can mend their damaged relationship but their peace & quiet is spoiled by the arrival of another couple.
The elderly couple of Mitch (Jake Weber) and Jane (Maryann Nagel) who are friends of Randell’s Dad and stay there when on vacation. Not wanting to get in the way, the younger couple suggest they will go and stay in a hotel but Mitch and Jane won’t hear of it. The four of them will stay at the house and to make it a bit less awkward, have dinner together that night.
A strong character-building scene, the strain on Randell and Emily’s relationship is clear to see and while it’s never spoken about in detail, the relationship of Mitch and Jane has some tragedy in its past too.
While outside smoking, Emily notices some kind of blue-coloured phenomena occurring on the water. Under the influence of some edibles (provided by Randell for the group), Jane wants to see it up close so goes to take a look and finds herself in an other-worldly environment that she realises too late, may actually be dangerous.
Although this isn’t fully realised until the next morning when Emily struggles to get a word out of her, Mitch behaves even odder and Randell starts to get sick. Something came out of the water and is infecting everything it comes into contact with.
Drawing from the likes of The Mist and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Beach House nails some aspects of what it is going for. Namely atmosphere and dread.
This is an eerie film where the feeling of isolation is handled brilliantly and the horror that builds throughout is very effective. On those two points alone, The Beach House is a great movie. However, elsewhere it fails to spark beginning with the main pairing of Emily and Randell. A couple lacking depth and more importantly, chemistry. The latter is really important for the film’s finale but because it just doesn’t exist, the last scenes will likely elect little more than a shoulder shrug. It’s not exactly the fault of the actors, although the lack of vigour at times is frustrating, rather they weren’t given much to work with at all.
Mitch and Jane are better but again, it’s thin veneer of a character where only the basics are given out. Not enough to make you care but just enough for you to vaguely remember them.
Story-wise, The Beach House is a slow burn that inevitably fails to break out into a full-on fire. It takes an age to get going and while this does work in regards to tension building, the journey needed a satisfying payoff. Something that just doesn’t happen here unfortunately.
It’s a real shame as The Beach House gets so much right elsewhere. The concept is great even if a bit unoriginal. The effects are great, the cinematography is strong and when it delves into horror, it can be pretty effective. It’s worth a watch even if it may not stand the test of time.
The Beach House
The Final Score - 6.5/10