The beach. Water. A vacation house by the beach. These are all things which humans seems to crave. We work hard so we can afford a beach vacation or a house by the beach. Yet in the film world they keep putting out things to discourage us. Sharks in the water like in Jaws. Women dying of cancer like in Beaches. Hurricanes in coastal North Carolina in Nights in Rodanthe. Vampires residing in a beach town in The Lost Boys. It is like they are trying to warn us of something. Saying that the seaside is not as idyllic as it seems.
Now from Shudder we have a film that warns of the water. The water at a beach house. Something scary is there.
Emily (Liana LIberato – Banana Split, Dear Eleanor) and Randall (Noah Le Gros – Depraved, A Score to Settle), high school sweethearts, are going through a rough patch in their relationship. To try to set things right they embark on a beachfront vacation with the goal of spending some quality time alone together. Try to remember why they fell in love in the first place. Soon though instead of paradise they discover they are in a sort of hell.
Upon arrival they discover that Randall’s estranged father has allowed his friends Mitch (Jake Weber – Dawn of the Dead, Meet Joe Black) and Jane Turner (Maryann Nagel – first film) to stay there without communicating that to anyone. Instead of letting that ruin either couple’s plans, they decide to share the house.
That evening the two couples spend time together and it turns into a party of sorts. Upon waking up the next morning everything has changed. That there is some kind of infection spreading around and it affects both humans and the environment become apparent. Emily is in the fight of her life to figure out what is going on before it is too late for all.
A mysterious contagion. Suffocating isolation. And some disgusting things happening to human bodies. All things which fans of horror will eat up wth a spoon. Director and writer Jeffrey A. Brown (first feature film) dips into the box of the usual devices of horror and science fiction here. While sometimes they have a been here, seen it before feel there is enough uniqueness to keep you interested. And slightly on edge.
Brown has stated that he was influenced by classic horror/sci fi films like Invasion of the Body The Snatchers, Shivers and Alien in the writing and making of the film. He goes for that type of tone and look. There are creatures and they are different enough that you don’t roll your eyes at them. But they also seem like they could plausibly exist which ups the realism factor. The special effects involved with them are also decent. Surprises happen so you are kept tense.
A special nod to the lead actress here, Liana Liberato, who does a great job. For me, this is her coming out film. She has worked since a young age and been in plenty of films, but this is the first one which made me sit up and take notice of her. Maybe horror is her genre?