Beacon Point (2016) – Jim Morazzini


The woods are a place of peace and relaxation to many people, to others they are a scary, isolated place to be avoided. And it follows that some find camping in them a wonderful way to relax and get away from the stress of day to day life, while others find it dirty, uncomfortable and after night falls, terrifying. Beacon Point is a tale of what happens when the former becomes the latter.

Zoe (Rachel Marie Lewis) impulsively quits her job to go on a hiking trip and scatter her late father’s ashes in his favorite part of the forest. As she is heading to the trail head there is drama unfolding as Drake (John Briddell) is getting fired from his job as a guide due to his criminal record, this leads to a shoving match with his ex boss which leads to his accidental death. Needing an alibi, Drake takes the group out on it’s hike. The rest of the group consists of brothers Brian (Jason Burkey) and
Cheese (RJ Shearer), Dan (Eric Goins) and Brian (Jason Burkey). Almost as soon as they are in the woods Drake leads them off the main trail and they encounter a very dead body which Drake passes off as a bear attack victim. This makes them nervous, but desperate to avoid returning to civilization Drake convinces them to keep going. Once deeper in the woods they start seeing and hearing odd things after Dan messes with a Native American grave marker. Drake recounts the legends of evil spirits in the woods and things get progressively worse for our unhappy campers.

Despite a prologue in which two camouflaged and heavily armed hunters are killed by the unseen creature they’re setting a trap for, Beacon Point is a slow burning film that relies on the psychological as much as the in your face. Given the film’s budget bringing the source of these events front and center probably wasn’t an option and the film is the better for not going the route of low end CGI. What it does do is use sound and suggestion very effectively until you’re sure evil spirits are lurking behind every tree. Or maybe they’re not spirits but aliens, the film never makes it clear and while some things point to technology and alien abduction lore other things suggest the supernatural. The final scene gives an answer to that and a few other questions, although you may guess a few of them along the way.

The script does have a few dubious moments and bad decisions on the part of the characters like continuing the hike after seeing the remains of the “bear” attack, I don’t know about you but I would be turning around and heading home ASAP. But for the most part it’s solid and keeps things from getting to unbelievable. Convincing acting also helps, especially from Briddell who goes from nervous and twitchy to a menace in his own right as Drake starts cracking under pressure.

Beacon Point isn’t anything revolutionary as deep woods horror films go, but for fans willing to use their imagination it is a creepy ride that will make you think twice about going camping.