The Beach House

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Beach House Movie Poster Image
Eerie, chilling, timely zombie/pandemic movie.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Emily talks about how fragile human life really is, how it depends on a perfect balance and combination of various elements, how easily it can be upset. The sickness that appears comes randomly, without explanation, has things in common with COVID-19 pandemic. Families can talk about what all this means, how resilient humans can be if they learn, act, work together.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Emily is a strong female character, takes charge of her situation. She tries to solve the problem as best as she can, using oxygen tank, trying to get out of there. But she has her faults (she smokes, is shown in the first half to be a little too trusting and a little too passive), and (spoiler alert) she doesn't actually make it out alive.

Violence

Approaching zombies. Zombies eating flesh. Bloody wound. Beating zombies with blunt objects. Car crash. Creepy worm thing burrows inside a character's skin; she pulls it out with a knife and tongs. Vomiting up icky creature. Stepping in gross goo on beach. Creepy/eerie stuff.

Sex

Kissing. Couple lies in bed together, presumably after sex and presumably naked under the covers.

Language

Uses of "f--k," a use of "bulls--t."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters eat strong pot-laced chocolate; they all act high, with drug trip-type sequences. Beer and wine with dinner. Cigarette smoking. Prescription meds shown.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byNoahMocha September 23, 2020
Adult Written bywhatthef--karey... July 18, 2020

Too scary

R: horror-related images of zombie violence and moments of disturbing terror.
Kid, 12 years old November 25, 2020

A KILLER beach watch

The Beach House was one of the best movies I have ever seen. It is scary, sometimes peaceful, and overall a terrifying, gory, beautiful movie. If you love horro... Continue reading

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?

  • How are drugs, smoking, and drinking depicted? Are they glamorized? Do they look cool or fun? Are there consequences for using them? Why does that matter?

  • 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?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scares

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate