13th Jul2017

‘Beacon Point’ Review

by Nik Holman

Stars: Rae Olivier, Jon Briddell, Eric Goins, Jason Burkey, RJ Shearer | Written by Eric Blue, Traci Carroll | Directed by Eric Blue

Beacon-Point-poster

A group of hikers set off for ten days of camping in the remote forest of – I don’t know. Did the movie ever tell us where they were, or could I just not pay attention? Beacon Point is the kind of movie you have to watch in an isolation chamber because even the slightest distraction is more interesting than this hour and a half hiking montage.

However, the film began with promise. Two hunters stalk the forest but are quickly turned to pray by an unseen monster. The scene wasn’t very frightening, it was shot in the daylight and happened very quickly, but at least it had a body count. And this was supposed to be a sci-fi horror movie…right?

The mood quickly switched to a drama piece as our protagonist, Zoe (Rae Olivier), quits her real estate job and heads for the woods. Rae Olivier should be commended for a solid performance. Her bumbling around in high heels and camping gear got a laugh out of me, and she does a good job injecting life into what might otherwise be wooden dialogue. One by one, we’re introduced to a cast of sympathetic and likeable characters. If the aliens in Beacon Point could have abducted these hikers and planted them in a different movie, I think we would have had a winner.

Exposition abounds in the first fifteen minutes. The only exception is the discovery of one dead camper who appears to have maybe been killed by a bear, but even then everyone shrugs it off and keeps walking. Sorry, folks, no time for anything of interest. We’ve only got five minutes until Cheese has to explain how he got his nickname. The dialogue goes something like, “Do you hike a lot?” “No. I worked in Silicon Valley. I poured everything I had into my job, but my wife left me. Blah, blah, blah.” You’re constantly wondering what kind of people just gush their life stories like this. And they all do it. Subtlety has no place in this film. The script blasts everything we need to know about the characters at breakneck speed and then suddenly slams on the brake. What’s the hurry? Many times I felt as if the script was rushing us towards some payoff that was never going to happen.

And this is when I felt the director was more interested in the drone he used for the rather beautiful landscape shots than actually making a horror movie. The next hour of Beacon Point is just hiking, sprawling landscape shots, and infrequent plot along the way. Even the troubled trail master/antagonist offers only the barest of obstacles before he’s dealt with. Yes, there is some kind of vague abduction that takes place, and it is chilling, but makes little impact on the over all experience. Yes, some hikers get sick after the abduction. But they get better. Then they get sick again. And some don’t get sick at all. Is this supposed to thrill me?

The acting is very good, overall. The cinematography is beautiful. Beacon Point isn’t a bad movie. It just doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up. The poster art I received for this review (pictured above) shows a huge spaceship hovering over the hikers, but this couldn’t be rather from the truth. We get one shot of an alien and some techno-alter in a cave near the end. That’s it. So does that make this a sci-fi film? Not really. Is there horror? Not much. Is it a thriller? Maybe. This film switches what it wants to be faster than a gender fluid, liberal arts major. Watch it with some friends, or don’t, whatever. I don’t think it really cares and neither should you.

Beacon Point is out now on VOD and DVD from Uncork’d Entertainment.

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