Directed by Jeffrey A. Brown
Written by Jeffrey A. Brown
Starring Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, Jake Weber and Maryann Nagel
The term Lovecraftian is thrown around waaaay too often. But if you’re hearing that descriptor even more lately, that’s a good sign. Richard Stanley’s return to directing with Color Out of Space comes right from an H.P. Lovecraft short story, JJ Abrams and Jordan Peele have their HBO series Lovecraft Country coming in August, and Guillermo Del Toro has recently vowed to get his long gestating At the Mountains of Madness off the ground. Even the Canadian comedy team, Astron-6, took their shot with the underrated inner-dimensional effects extravaganza The Void back in 2016. Guess what? There’s a new kid on the block and if you’re a Lovecraft fan, you’re going to have to add Jeffrey A. Brown’s The Beach House to the list, too.
When Randall (Noah Le Gros) invites his girlfriend Emily (Liana Liberato) to his parent’s beach house during the off season, they’re hoping for a mellow, romantic weekend where they can pop some edibles, drink a little Pinot and relax on the sand. In an immediately uncomfortable scheduling mixup, the getaway bungalow has been double booked and suddenly Randall and Emily are sharing the place with his father’s friends, Mitch (Jake Weber) and Jane (Maryann Nagel). Luckily, the generation gap isn’t too wide, after all, and the two couples hit it off immediately. After they decide to all do a little microdosing, the trip becomes way too strong for everyone, especially the older couple who are definitely never the same after the evening’s events.
The next day, Jane is deathly ill and Mitch is completely out of it and things get worse from there. Strange, alien-like sea creatures wash up all over the beach and a suspicious fog appears that has an otherworldly effect on the humans that breathe it in. Luckily, Emily is a natural survivor and tries to fight her way through a harrowing weekend that would have been much better spent with a staycation at home. As everyone around her seems to be mutating, she uses her wits to try and stay ahead of the spread.
The Beach House captures the fear of the unknown that Lovecraft is so renowned for. Lovecraft’s stories are largely unfilmable but his influence is felt in classics like The Thing and A L I E N that sneak his concepts into more mainstream constructs. The Beach House is no exception, using the unexplainable to create an indescribable terror that works as the foundation of another term that’s thrown around too much: cosmic horror. What really sells that feeling even more are the priceless WTF reactions that actress Liana Liberato delivers in spades.
With Lovecraft, the expressions of terror from the human characters are more memorable than the actual descriptions of what they’re seeing. Not showing anything terrifying doesn’t really work for the movie universe, but don’t worry..when it’s time to see something ungodly and truly disturbing, The Beach House delivers a couple of scares that are truly out of this world.
The Beach House, a Shudder Original, lands on the platform today, July 9th.
Two generations clash when a seemingly idyllic weekend getaway transforms into a very, very bad trip.