New Horror Releases: The Beach House (2020) - Reviewed

Courtesy of Shudder

A haunting beachy aesthetic with a suspenseful plot makes The Beach House an engrossing (and at times, just plain GROSS) and thought-provoking fright film.

When Emily (Liana Liberto) and Randall (Noah le Gros) show up to vacation at Randall’s father’s beach house they find Jane and Mitch, friends of Randall’s father are already there. The couple do their best to not make things awkward. After a quiet dinner party, then partaking in some medical marijuana edibles, things begin to get very creepy. The plot unfolds slowly, with most of the first act of the movie exploring the struggling relationship of Emily and Randall, who are both growing up and seem to be growing apart from one another. The real action doesn’t start to happen until the third act, but once it does, it’s hard to look away and it doesn’t let up until the end credits. Word to the wise: if you have a weak stomach, finish your snacks before the last half hour of the film. If your stomach lining is steel and you like a good gross-out horror movie, or intense body horror, this one delivers, but may not be as satisfying as you’d hope. It could have been more intense for this reviewer, but I still enjoyed it. Aside from the gross out body horror that I do so love to see in a film, I personally found the more “trippy” water scenes to be transcendent, ambitious, and wildly unique.

Emily and Randall, dealing with some shit. Courtesy of Shudder

All in all, The Beach House is an enjoyable watch from beginning to end, thanks to the beautiful and psychedelic effects, in addition to well-paced suspense that pays off. Watching a film that has a sense of isolation, a theme of uncertainty, and deals with a mysterious and deadly infection in the Covid-19 era could be a cathartic experience for some, but if it’s escape you’re looking for during these times, it may be best to sit this one out. 

Bad oysters, edibles too strong, or could it be something more sinister? Courtesy of Shudder

Knowing that writer/director Jeffrey A. Brown had been inspired to write this after a real life vacation with a girlfriend to a beach house resulted in a breakup made this movie even more thought-provoking after the fact, and there is a lot to unpack in the film regarding that. For someone who likes to pick apart things like that, this movie has the potential to have a lot of rewatchability and stoke a lot of discussion.  

The Beach House is available to stream now on Shudder.

--Mara Powell