To deliver chills and scares, you don’t always need a massive cast. Sometimes it just takes a clever concept and a few talented individuals to infect your mind with uncomfortable thoughts that can make you squirm. This is the case for RLJE Film’s The Beach House, a Shutter Original. It features a very minimal cast that is able to deliver a very interesting film that continuously makes you use your imagination as to what is terrorizing them.
The Beach House stars Liana Liberato, Noah Le Gros, Maryann Nagel, and Jake Weber. Here is the synopsis for The Beach House:
In THE BEACH HOUSE, hoping to reignite their relationship, college students Emily (Liberato) and Randall (Le Gros) arrive at their weekend getaway only to discover a peculiar older couple already staying there. They all agree to share the home but, after an indulgent night of partying, they’re awoken to a living nightmare of apocalyptic proportions. A mysterious airborne microbe has infected the water and it’s making its way to the house….
With the release of The Beach House, LRM Online talked with the star of the film, Jake Weber. In our conversation, we talked about his character, Mitch. Who makes several questionable decisions in the film. He also gives us his thoughts on the directorial debut of Jeffrey A. Brown. Last but not least he also talks about what it was like working with a minimal cast and crew. Be sure to check it out below!
Emmanuel Gomez: Thank you for taking some time today to talk to me.
Jake Weber: You’re welcome.
Emmanuel Gomez: We’re here to talk about the horror film, The Beach House.
Jake Weber: Yes, sir.
Emmanuel Gomez: In which you are a part of a massive cast.
Jake Weber: Yes. Huge.
Emmanuel Gomez: You play the role of Mitch, which is the husband of one of the two couples in the film. Can you talk about your character a little bit?
Jake Weber: He’s just a regular Midwestern guy and has had some sadness in his life. He never had kids, and his wife is not well mentally and probably has been for a long time. She’s sort of on her way out. That’s basically it. I think he’s a lonely guy. He’s worried about his wife, and he’s trying to give her last moment of happiness. Then serendipitously, this young couple arrive at the beginning of their lives, of their journey. That’s very invigorating for this older couple. They have this lovely moment of community, and then something terrible happens, and they all die. That sometimes happens in life, doesn’t it?
Emmanuel Gomez: I found that really interesting, the fact that Mitch has gone through so much in life and although he’s attacked by this pathogen or microbes, he seems to almost pass peacefully. As for the rest of the characters, it’s a lot more of a violent encounter.
Jake Weber: Well, the question in my mind is since he is asymptomatic when he leaves us, I wonder if he is actually aware that he is symptomatic. I think the time you see him before I think he’s walking off, looking for his wife. Is that it? I’m trying to remember. I think he goes off looking for her.
I’m assuming he finds her, or maybe he doesn’t. But he sees that she is degenerating fast. Something bad has happened, and she looks like she’s on her way. Whether he identifies that with some strange virus, he does see that she is about to die. For some reason, he doesn’t stay with her during that. He goes to the beach and then goes for a swim. Then at that point, when he’s in the water, he sort of decides his time is now. Though I wonder if it is an awareness of the virus or if it is just his time to go. But it’s an interpretation that is open to the audience to make. That happens to be my choice for the guy at his end. But there are many other ways to read into his long walk into the ocean.
Emmanuel Gomez: Do you feel that that’s probably a great choice for a movie like this? Especially with the fact that we get minimal visuals of what really is it that’s terrorizing these people and the coast and, far after, the world? That you can make assumptions and then you can even almost create your own horror tale in your mind with the company of the movie?
Jake Weber: Sure. I think you can interpret the movie however you like. I think that the filmmaker hasn’t designed for that, but certainly, you can look back on the sort of dread and the sort of claustrophobia and the tension that is then broken with the edibles. As any piece of art, you can bring yourself to that and have your own experience with it.
In terms of the actual chronology to the movie, I don’t think anyone is symptomatic until we see Maryann Nagel’s character come down with it. She is already sick, so we don’t know exactly what is going on. Then it’s not until after he gets in the ocean and then she steps on something, and things start getting weird.
ALSO SEE: THE BEACH HOUSE STAR NOAH LE GROS TALKS ABOUT HIS ROLE IN THE HORROR FILM [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]
Emmanuel Gomez: Very, very weird. We know that this is Jeffrey A. Brown’s directorial debut. He also is the writer of the film. How do you feel about his vision for this film?
Jake Weber: I really think, and I say this with all my heart, I think he’s a very gifted filmmaker. I’ve worked with a lot of young filmmakers. First-time filmmakers, and he’s very secure and confident. He knows exactly what he wants to shoot, shoots it efficiently. Has a very dynamic camera development, and built tension in that house with the small confines of that house in a way that felt claustrophobic, but didn’t necessarily feel oppressive because of the third camera and the weird tensions between people.
So something’s going to happen. You don’t know what it is. Is it going to be on the interpersonal level? We know it’s a horror film, so something is going to happen. But if we didn’t know it was a horror film and we just sort of started watching, we wouldn’t know what genre we were in. I think that’s effective, and I think it’s compelling, and it takes it out of the conventional approach to horror. As many of the great horror movies do, they’re always about something else. But he was a very quiet presence on set and very effective. I look forward to what he does next.
Emmanuel Gomez: What was it like for you to work with such a minimal cast in this film?
Jake Weber: It’s always nice working with a small cast and also with a small crew. Everyone sort of becomes close, and it feels like a community, and I enjoy working on smaller films for that reason.
Emmanuel Gomez: So what would you say is the difference in this particular project and some of the other horror films that you’ve worked with in the past?
Jake Weber: Well, the experience with this one is dissimilar to the experience that I had on a film called Wendigo. Which is a Larry Fessenden movie, which is one of my favorite films I’ve ever done. A very small budget horror film that was shot many, many moons ago. But for your audience, if they don’t know, it’s really worth checking out. It stars Patricia Clarkson and then me and this kid and then a couple of other ancillary characters. But again, a very small crew, low budget, and small cast. The movie turned out terrifically, and so that was a similar experience.
Then when you work on a bigger budget thing like Dawn of the Dead, it’s a whole different animal. You’ve got an army of zombies to get ready each day at a whole different location. It becomes a much bigger event. You don’t really get to know the crew well, but that movie I felt was very effective. I think that Zack Snyder is a very, very good director.
The Beach House is now available on VOD, Digital HD, DVD & Blu-Ray.