A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Beach House is a slow-burn zombie horror movie starring Liana Liberato that focuses more on the virus aspect of the scenario than on the resulting zombie attack. That said, it definitely has zombie violence, as well as a car crash, creepy/eerie moments, and gross stuff (stepping in goo, pulling a wormy thing out of a character's flesh, vomiting, etc.). A young couple kisses and presumably has sex; they're shown in bed, with the implication that they're naked under the covers. Language isn't frequent but includes several uses of "f--k," plus "s--t"/"bulls--t." There's some cigarette smoking and social drinking, and characters eat pot-laced chocolate, after which they act high.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE BEACH HOUSE, Emily (Liana Liberato) and her boyfriend, Randall (Noah Le Gros), plan a weekend getaway at Randall's estranged father's beach house during the off-season. Expecting total privacy, they settle in. Emily heads downstairs and is dismayed to discover a woman sitting at the table. Her name is Jane (Maryann Nagel), and when her husband, Mitch (Jake Weber), arrives, Emily and Randall learn that Randall's father agreed to loan them the house for the same weekend. Mitch remembers Randall and invites the young couple to stay for dinner. They drink, eat pot-laced chocolate, and are entranced when everything outside appears to be glowing blue. The next morning, Jane seems ill, and Mitch is acting weird. Emily and Randall soon discover that the blue glowing stuff might have brought something deadly with it.
Is it any good?
Wisely avoiding wordy explanations or long setups, this eerie, timely chiller takes a slow-burn approach, simply observing its characters and springing its shocks naturally, without announcing them. The debut feature of writer-director Jeffrey A. Brown, The Beach House has confidence in its ability to create strange little tensions out of ordinary moments. It takes a while before anything supernatural happens, but the character interactions themselves are enough to make viewers feel on edge right away. What's left unspoken is frequently more powerful than what's said, such as the relationship tensions between Emily and Randall and whatever personal demons Jane appears to be fighting.
When the trouble does actually start, Brown doles it out in a way that makes it feel like it's happening organically. He doesn't play the audience like a piano or ramp up scares with percussive crashes. A character saying "I think I'll go for a swim" turns into a jaw-dropping jolt. A garbled voice on a staticky police radio is mostly inaudible, except for one chill-inducing sentence: "It's not fog." Perhaps most impressive is the fact that The Beach House is technically a zombie movie, but the zombies are rarely shown. This movie understands that zombies in themselves are no longer scary. But what's behind them, what causes them, can be absolutely terrifying.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Beach House's violence. How much is shown, and how much is suggested? How does sound work to make unseen violence seem more threatening?
Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of scary movies?
What did you think about Emily's speech on how fragile human beings are? Do you agree or disagree? Why?
How do the events in the movie compare to the COVID-19 pandemic?
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