There's a certain charm within bad horror movies. Sure bad writing, poor acting, and laughable special effects can sink just about any movie of any genre. But horror has this way about it where even the worst of the worst can be enjoyable. Something as simple as The Blair Witch Project, once shaped the landscape of the entire scene. Why? Execution. Even something as simple as kids lost in the woods can be elevated by creative execution. The same can be said for Beacon.
Beacon tells the story of Zoe (played by Rachel Marie Lewis), a real-estate agent who decides to go on a secluded vacation in the Appalachian Hills to help cope with the recent loss of her father. However, things take a sinister turn when Zoe and her new friends, Drake, Brian and Cheese (yes, that's his name) come across a mangled dead body early on their hike. This sets into motion a vacation that's anything but spiritual rest and relaxation.
The set-up is your traditional standard fare when it comes to horror. The battle-tested 'lost in the woods' treatment has been done so many times, it's hard not to feel like you've seen it a thousand times before, with various degrees of success. Beacon tries to spice things up with a 'trust no-one' subplot as well as a predictable supernatural element. Both seem to work well enough but not enough to sustain an entire film.
That's not to say Beacon is a terrible film. While it's not what I would call a good one, it's not a total loss. Lewis does a well enough job as the inevitable heroine, especially during her introduction scene trying to sell a house, and doing a horrible job. Lewis's knack for physical comedy helps later in the film when her character steps up to save the proverbial day. Another plus is the beautiful cinematography by Jim McKinney. The lush forests of Appalachia look amazing and at least give you something to look at during some of the scenes where the actors sometimes seem like they're chewing the script.
Overall Beacon is a solid time killer. Director Eric Blue may not have the chops to direct an epic such as Apocalypse Now, but at least he doesn't overstay his welcome. The attempts at creativity are admirable but maybe a little too late in the grand scheme of things. Running at a brisk 85 minutes, Beacon isn't long enough to offend the audience.While it's no Blair Witch Project in terms of influence, it knows it's place as a cliche, campy horror film and does an adequate job. Isn't that what we expect out of such films?
by Christopher Ball