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The Beach House

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In the spirit of 1950s sci-fi comes Jeffrey A. Brown’s gripping debut feature. Recent college dropout Randall (Noah Le Gros) is content at the thought of spending an eternity bumming around his father’s spacious waterfront property. Emily (masterfully played by Liana Liberato), his semi-estranged girlfriend, is a brilliant college student eager to attend grad school. (Liberato is one of the few young actresses around capable of convincingly pulling off the role of organic chemistry major.) What is meant to be a weekend devoted to romantic reconciliation gets disrupted, first when an oddball pair of dad’s old friends, already granted use of the space, show up, followed by strange atmospheric phenomena materializing on land and sea. Because I don’t want to keep audiences away, I am loath to peg this as a cautionary fable about climate change. The point is there, but never hammered. And the film offers no explanations; the horror lies just out of sight, somewhere below the horizon line. (2019) — Scott Marks

Rated NR | 1 hour, 28 minutes
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