So THE BEACH HOUSE is the first Shudder Original Film that has been making waves across all social media as actually being quite a decent little horror flick. Not only for the streaming service but as a film in general. So what do I do? My cheap ass signs up for the 7 day free trial, downloads the app, then cancels the membership immediately so it doesn’t charge me $5 a month when I forget about it in a week, watch only this film, and then delete the app and get it out of my life until the next buzzed about film comes out. Then I’ll just use a different e-mail to sign up. It’s in the 70 something percent range in Rotten Tomatoes so I thought people could’ve been right, then again, the horror film Relic released last week to rave reviews, and I didn’t care much for it. So what about The Beach House? I’ll answer that question with a question. Is it just me, or is everybody kind of tired of pandemic ‘horror’ films right now due to the situation we are in? If not, I certainly am. While the film is very adequately made, a half way decent slow burn, and makes good use of practical effects for once, when the end credits rolled, an “eh” escaped from my lips. While it is better than this past weekend’s Relic, I think I just am not into ‘pandemic like’ films right now, especially horror ones. Will it stay that way once this is all over? Right now, my gut tells me yes.
And that feeling is honestly being a little unfair to this movie. It was made long before COVID-19. It’s decent. And I’m going to go ahead and give it a recommendation to you, my zany readers, because it is more ambitious than the other shit I saw offered on Shudder as I scrolled around its library. And the practical effects, in the big pay off second half of the film, were very well done. Also this film has some gorgeous cinematography and shots. But kind of like, fuck, maybe almost exactly like Color Out Of Space, I didn’t really care for the characters and their plight, the dialogue, there was not enough that was explained, it didn’t have a clear set of rules, and the slow burn was a little too…well…”slow burn-y”? I definitely will not recommend that you watch this while eating or have just eaten. And I definitely will not recommend this to you if you in any way, shap, or form are either A. Squemish (especially right now with COVID-19) or B. Just tired of the pandemic so much that anything remotely even possibly relating to it will dig up bad memories for you. Other than that, if this description from IMDB peaks your interest, I will tell you to go ahead and give it a gander: “A romantic getaway for two troubled college sweethearts turns into a struggle for survival when unexpected guests – and the surrounding environment – exhibit signs of a mysterious infection.”Although I didn’t care for the characters, the actors were halfway decent, especially the lead girl, played by Liana Liberato. This would be director Jeffrey A. Brown’s first big break, as he’s directed only two other short films and has been a part of Location Management in big films like Spider-Man 3. He proves he has learned a lot being a part of the miscellaneous crew in a ton of other stuff as well. He definitely has an eye behind the camera.
But his screenplay writing, again, just like the duo that wrote Relic, needs a bit of work. On the other hand, maybe he wrote based off of budget, and if given a bigger budget before writing down the road, could do more unique things. Shit doesn’t finally start to go down until a little before half way through the film, and by then the ‘slow burn’ felt kind of tiresome, especially when the 45 minute set up didn’t have much in the way of character development to get you to care for anyone. And the pay offs were okay but not of the caliber that they needed to be. They needed more information and a grounded set of ‘virus’ narrative rules to function. If I were to watch this movie again it would only be for technical analysis and merit. And it isn’t like I don’t care for David Cronenberg-esque body horror, John Carpenter’s The Thing is one of my favorite films of all time, I just think right now isn’t the best time for me…or any one for that matter to be watching a film like this. Even though the body horror is nice and subtle, and it is only used when needed in its tight 87 minute run time. It doesn’t over do it. It’s a solid and noble effort, but just watching a film of that stature is not in my best interest based on how grumpy I have been since March of 2020. Fuck, even though I love the films Outbreak and Contagion, the only thing I can think about if I were to watch them right now is how badly I would want to throw something very, very hard at my television screen.