The Beach HouseOverview -
The Beach House takes place at a serene, nice beachfront property where two couples retreat for some relaxation for a long weekend. As the hours go by, strange occurrences start to take effect where slimy creatures, possessions, and a strange fog enters the landscape and terrorizes the people. It's a glorious independent horror movie. The 1080p HD transfer and DTS-HD 5.1 audio track are sub-par at best and the is not a single bonus feature located on the release. Rent It.
Escaping to a family's beach house to reconnect, Emily and Randall find their off-season trip interrupted by Mitch and Jane Turner, an older couple acquainted with Randall's estranged father. Unexpected bonds form as the couples let loose and enjoy the isolation, but it all takes an ominous turn as increasingly strange environmental phenomena begin to warp their peaceful evening. As the effects of an infection become evident, Emily struggles to make sense of the contagion before it's too late.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
The Beach House is a summer-time horror at its peak that dives into a hellish nightmare with four unfortunate souls instead of making the romantic beachside kiss last forever. Director Jeffrey A. Brown conjures up a psychedelic journey into monsters and madness while staying grounded inside his character's personal relationships and struggles. It's a great mix of atmospheric terror, gore, and storytelling that is completely satisfying. The Beach House is best described as if H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King vacationed to the beach together one summer where their creations came true. It doesn't disappoint.
The story centers around young couple Randall (Noah Le Gros) and Emily (Liana Liberato) who arrive at a beach house for a long weekend of romance and sun-tanning. It almost comes to a screeching halt when they realize an older couple is already staying at the house - Mitch (Jake Weber) and Jane (Maryanne Nagel). After an awkward introduction and small-talk, the four adults get along quite well with some food, booze, and drugs. The film seems to wander into dark comedy territory, but soon enough, things go sour real quick. Elements of nature start to turn against their human counterparts, but in a slow, decaying manner, which affects these couple's attitudes. Bizarre behavior is evident as the threat and realistic nightmares begin.
From strange tentacled creatures, worms, mist, and otherworldly entities that can be considered a virus, these four people begin to realize there is no escape as they all slowly descend into madness and mayhem. even going so far as to tear out some of these alien-like slithering bugs out of their own bodies that will definitely satisfy the gore crowd. With all that in mind, Film Director Jeffrey Brown also examines the layers of new and old relationships with these two couples. As this virus grows bigger and presents the four with larger problems, their relationships with one another also take a path that is unnerving which is evident from the very start of the film.
The destruction is both on a grand scale as it is a very intimate scale with these individuals that run parallel with one another. The atmospheric sounds and trippy visuals only enhance the dark and sinister tone this movie takes on, which is a slow mounting crescendo into hell. Jeffrey A. Brown certainly has something to say in the horror genre and with The Beach House, his mark on cinema is a strong one for the horror that will bring the genre in a new direction.
Noah Le Gros and Liana Liberato turn in excellent performances with Liana stealing every scene she's in. Not only does The Beach House provide some great atmospheric scares, but it also has an innermost message of the hardships of a relationship and how quickly it can devolve.
The Vital Stats: The Blu-ray
The Beach House relaxes on Blu-ray from Shudder and RLJE Films with one Blu-ray Disc included. The disc is housed inside a hard, blue, plastic case with the artwork of the film featuring the house and the main character. There is no digital code, but there is an insert for a free 30-Day shudder trial.
The Beach House comes with a 1080p HD transfer and is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 that boasts a moody color palette with some exquisite detail. This horror film never sticks to one kind of visual style but rather journeys through a paranoid nightmare of creatures and hallucinations that bring on a few types of stylized moving images. The start of the film starts off with a rather bright look picture of an ocean-front beach property where the water is crystal blue, the sand a perfect beige, and the sky a light blue with some greenery sprinkled around. As the film plays out, the mood, tone, and color palette start to fade into darkness and even madness where the characters have vivid nightmares where the image itself becomes polarized with muted rainbow-like colors. Towards the end of the film, a heavy amber filter is used to simulate a hellish landscape of fog and mist that works well here.
A lot of the film takes place in low lit sequences, so the black levels are deep and inky here, however, there is a little bit of bleed and hindering of the detail. The slimy creatures and self-surgery sequence reveal some gnarly red and pinks in the blood and skin textures nicely and one scene has a very cold and icy feel to it where everything is illuminated in light blue, which makes everything look like a fantasy film. The detail is sharp in the exterior sunny shots, however other than that, there's a filmic quality that tends to be soft where gory wounds or facial features don't showcase a ton of detail. Skin tones are natural in regular conditions too. Lastly, there were no major instances with any video anomalies such as banding or aliasing.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix and sounds decent, but doesn't live up to its full potential. There are some nice sound effects of the ocean waves breaking and rolling in, along with some other haunting elements as the film goes on. Vehicle engines sound good as do normal household objects in action.
The ambient noises of the beach and other hallucinations during the drug-fueled trip sequences sound good too. The heavier scenes that involve screams and movement, especially during the latter half of the film really bring in the low end of bass with a nice rumble. The score effectively keeps the suspense alive and the dialogue is clean and free of any audio issues. There are just never any big powerful audio elements to really immerse or drive this entertainment home. Instead, it went the subtle route.
There are no bouns features.
The Beach House is a great indie horror flick with a lot to say and a lot to offer in the form of psychological scares, bodily horror, and more. The performances are top-notch and the story and camera shots are exquisite. The Blu-ray release is something less than desired though, as the video and audio presentations are just average and there are NO bonus features whatsoever included. Rent It.
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