starring Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, Maryann Nagel, Jake Weber
written and directed by Jeffrey A. Brown
by Walter Chaw What's the conversation to be had around William Eubanks's Underwater, Neasa Hardiman's Sea Fever, and now Jeffrey A. Brown's The Beach House? How all three, released within six months of each other, foreground a young, capable, female protagonist who understands better--and sooner--than anyone else the nature and intent of an all-consuming calamity. How all three are set in and around the ocean, that archetype of the unconscious for poets and philosophers. And how all three end with what is essentially a return--is it a reunion?--for their unheeded, uncelebrated triumvirate of seers. Indeed, they seem more like heralds than criers. The timing of the films is curious, certainly, and although H.P. Lovecraft seems the denominator for all three, in truth the better archetypal thread to pull here is the vagina dentata: the Charybdis, to be avoided for her indiscriminate thirst. They are fables of a very particular apocalypse, where a masculine impulse towards colonization, exploration, and industrialization has led to the Earth pushing back in pursuit of some sort of equilibrium. In that context, of course, it's a woman, particularly a young woman, who would recognize both the affront of a full-frontal violation and the retributive rearguard solution. These movies are violent in the way childbirth is contextualized as violent. Lots of shit goes down inside a chrysalis, too.