The Beach House movie poster

The Beach House

In theaters July 9, 2020

Rated

88 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , , ,

The Beach House (2019) has a slow start but crashes around you like a surprise tide.

Two college kids head up to his dad’s Beach House for a little R&R and to reconnect. Randall (Noah Le Gros) has abruptly left school for a life of weeding and wilding, leaving his Grad-school bound girlfriend, Emily (Liana Liberato), at loose ends with her life. They encounter another, older couple and apparently family friends, Mitch (Jake Weber) and Jane (Maryanne Nagel) already staying there. After an evening of good food, some potent edibles, and Emily going on (and on) about the extremes of astro-biology, they wake up sick, disorientated, and considerably freaked out. The water is weird, they can’t shake out of their malaise, and there are weird things washing up onshore.

What could have easily been a crazy serial killer couple ends up being a relatively thoughtful story about invasions we can’t expect because of the places we never think to look. We are after all smack dab in the middle of a pandemic, and we weren’t prepared for this either. By the way, this absolutely is not a serial killer couple story, and I’m not mad about that at all. The Beach House is a quiet thriller, and surprisingly well-paced.  Emily and Randall don’t seem like the kind of people an audience can root for. They’re young, wrapped up in the minutia of failed college romance, and let’s face it, Randall is a dud no matter how many times he apologizes. Emily begins as a mouse but her wellspring of strength is surprising and welcome. Mitch and Jane are there for last goodbyes, and her terminal illness provides a heart-breaking finality to the quiet apocalypse happening around them.

At times The Beach House gets too bogged down in its own symbolism, swapping languid shots of color for exposition, but once you can get past the psychedelic trips, what you have is a very compelling invasion movie with very real emotions, and a depth I wasn’t expecting. I was genuinely sucked into this weird little story. Emily’s frenetic strength and wits make for a story not told by people making stupid mistakes, but smart kids looking for the intelligent way out in a blind panic.

I can appreciate thoughtful thrillers, and The Beach House is the sleeper I wasn’t expecting.

The Beach House (2019)is not-rated, but if I had to guess I’d say PG-13 for swears, brief side boob, trippy drug use, deeply unsettling transformations, worms in feet, car crashes, and a movie that feels like the well-loved bastard child of The Fog (1980) and The Mist (2007).

The Beach House is streaming exclusively on Shudder July 9, 2020

Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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