I first encountered Eric Blue’s BEACON POINT about a year ago when I was sent the screener to review for another website. I found it a very good, if flawed, microbudget thriller and was surprised when I didn’t hear anything more about it. Then out of the blue I got the screener again this morning, with a new poster, trailer and a release date. Curious to see if the delay was for re-editing or re-shooting I decided to give it another watch.
Beginning with two camouflaged hunters setting a trap for a large, unseen creature before falling victim to it before introducing us to Zoe (Rae Olivier TRANSATLANTIC COFFEE) as she impulsively quits her job in order to scatter her father’s ashes at his favorite hiking destination, Beacon Point. She meets up with fellow hikers Dan (Eric Goins RIDE ALONG 1&2) brothers Cheese (RJ Shearer PAPER TOWNS) and Brian (Jason Burkey TV’s WALKING DEAD) and trail guide Drake (Jon Briddell JURASSIC SCHOOL). The hike has barely begun when they find a mauled body that Drake says was the victim of a bear attack, he also refuses to turn back and leads them deeper into the woods, (this may have something to do with him having just killed his boss and wanting to make tracks away from the crime scene). Deep in woods that the Cherokee claimed were inhabited by supernatural beings they begin to hear strange sounds and start falling ill, then going missing. Is it Drake, the Cherokee’s Shadow People or something else?
Despite an obviously lean, (about $24,000), budget the film has a very polished look to it, making use of some truly stunning scenery and night photography to really bring home the feeling of isolation. There are also some fairly intense hallucination scenes that add to the mystery. Of course this doesn’t leave much for creature effects and the film, in true micro-budget fashion, relies on sound, atmosphere and camera work to create it’s scares. And it does, building to a level of paranoia where it feels like there’s something behind every tree.
While this seems to be the same as the version I saw previously I was hoping it might clear up a bit of the ambiguity as to what the creatures were. Are they Native American spirits or aliens, there’s a possible answer in the last scene but it’s not definitive. Ironically the new poster does just that, the original, which I preferred, featured a creepy rendition of the stone totem they find in the woods. It’s been replaced by one featuring a spaceship and aliens.
Despite that, this is a very effective little film that will keep your attention, though I wouldn’t recommend watching it before a camping trip.
BEACON POINT will be available on VOD May 2nd and DVD July 4th from Uncork’d Entertainment.