Beacon Point is a Sci-Fi/thriller/horror Written and directed by Eric Blue, making his feature length debut. It follows a group of hikers on the Appalachian Trail. They soon become lost and stumble across an ancient secret that threatens their survival.
The film follows Zoe, an unfulfilled estate agent who’s mourning the death of her father. She decides to take a 10 day guided hike on the Appalachian Trail with some other likeminded individuals. We’re introduced to Drake, the guide for the tour. His boss discovers that Drake has a criminal record so he forbids Drake in guiding the hike and attempts to fire him. I say attempts because Drake protests and inadvertently kills him during a scuffle, oops.
Drake decides to take the group on the hike as a way of escaping the situation. Other than Zoe, there’s Brian & Cheese. Two people who only recently discovered that their father had been living a double life and that they’re half-brothers. Cheese is called Cheese because he likes Cheese, that’s all there is to say about that. Moving on, there’s Dan who’s been working long hours to bring home money for him & his wife. He’s let himself go a little due to his sit-down job. Sadly, he discovered that his wife was cheating on him with her Yoga instructor. This led him to be compelled to go on the hike to get into better shape.
Before the hike can even truly get started, the group discover a slashed corpse. Drake assures them that it was likely a bear and that it shouldn’t bother them as they’re a large team. They soon notice that they’re not following the designated trail. Drake tells that they’ll be going a different way, off the beaten path. He promises that there will be a number of natural wonders along the way, they agree to follow.
They bond along the way with some genuinely stunning scenery as a backdrop. Zoe & Brian even begin something of a romance. This clearly saddens Cheese as the hike was supposed to be an opportunity for him & Brian to bond after their father’s death.
During the night, Zoe is continuously awoken by what sounds like a bear but it doesn’t really lead to anything.
Dan & Drake discover an ancient shrine/burial ground. Dan, a certified geologist takes a strange stone that he claims is a type of scarab. Drake protests but Dan takes it anyway, thinking it might be worth something.
One night, Zoe is awoken once again. This time she has a strange vision in which she, Drake and the others are abducted by aliens. In the morning, it seems like it was just a bad dream. Brian complains about headaches and falls unconscious. There are some strange sores around his eyes.
Zoe & the remainder of the group decide that they need to seek medical help for Brian. Drake disagrees and refuses to give over his satellite phone. Refusing to follow his orders, a fight ensues that leaves Drake handcuffed. Zoe needs him if she has any hope of finding her way through the forest. She takes him, still handcuffed. They stumble upon a strange totem that causes them great discomfort. Zoe confides in Drake about the experience with the aliens and he confirms that he remembered it too.
Will they survive?
Beacon Point has an interesting concept but its muddled attempt at explaining any of it is disappointing.
I liked the characters in this movie. Each of them is given just enough backstory that you’ll care. Their individual reasons for being on the hike make complete sense. Drake is probably the best character. I felt the film would have fared better had it focused more on him instead of Zoe; she’s much less interesting but still likeable enough.
Surprisingly, the acting in this film is actually really good. The dialogue isn’t great but the actors are really convincing, I give them a lot of credit.
The narrative is unique and compelling throughout, it’s just poorly executed.
Beacon Point could have been about a group of hikers that are terrorized by some kind of forest monster, thirsty for blood. Instead, it opts to be something different which was brave but ultimately the wrong decision. Unfortunately, it doesn’t explain far too many things, I could write a long list. I understand it’s supposed to be laced with mystery but you’re left to draw your own conclusions on far too much. It seemed as if there were a bunch of metaphors for things but I just didn’t get it. There is no correlation in what happens to each of the characters. The whole thing is a bit of a mess that to me, felt unfinished.
It manages to craft decent characters but then their only purpose is to be victims to the aliens, such a waste. Why take the time to develop characters if they’re to be treated like useless fodder? I would have preferred to see them band together, fight for each other and struggle to survive. Instead, it all just falls apart.