The Beach House: Review

The Beach House

The Beach House is a close-quarter, Lovecraftian horror project set amidst its tranquil ocean-side setting. The film follows Emily (Liana Liberato) and Randall (Noah Le Gros), a dysfunctional young couple looking to escape their daily doldrums with a romantic getaway. Their plans are upended when they discover two unexpected guests already inhabiting the house (acquaintances of Randall’s dad, played by Jake Weber and Maryanne Nagel). After a drug-filled night getting to know each other, the group wakes up in a distorted reality, with an unknown infection taking the quiet beach by storm.

While no one will champion The Beach House for its narrative ingenuity, writer/director Jeffery A. Brown leaves a distinct impression with his debut feature. Resourcefully pushing the boundaries of his budgetary restrictions, Brown cleverly develops a sense of unease within the opening frames, delving deep beneath the depths of the ocean to explore the murky unknown that lies ahead. These atmospheric frames eloquently contrast the quaint calm of the beach setting, with the impending sense of doom being further accented by the crashing roar of upcoming waves.

Once the infection takes hold of its unbeknownst victims, Brown unleashes a flurry of technically-accomplished flourishes to display the horror at hand. The director utilizes fog and dizzying camera work to depict the continual psychical decay of the characters, with warning lights radiating through the mist with visceral impact. Brown’s macabre vision offers a plethora of distinctive scares while keeping the pace moving during its tight 84-minute runtime.



The Beach House’s compact nature may satisfy from a scare department, but its scanty-developed script suffers in the process. It’s clear Brown utilizes his concept as an exercise in horror craftsmanship, but his writing feels stiff and simplistic. There are opportunities to explore the pains of life’s gradual decay, whether that be in our treasured relationships (represented by the fragile dynamic between Emily and Randall) or our mortality (one of Randall’s acquaintances is approaching their demise). While that’s conveyed in a visual sense, I wish Brown’s script had more ambition in displaying these human pains with more intimacy, while potentially adding inventive wrinkles to its overly-familiar structure.

While The Beach House plays is safe from a narrative perspective, it’s twisted, nightmarish presentation offers an alluring Lovecraft experience.


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Matt is an American who has grown up for passion for film and its empathetic powers to tell unique stories (especially in the science fiction sphere). Some of his favorites include Inside Llewyn Davis, Her, Goodfellas, Frances Ha and Moonlight.

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