Paradise Cove Movie Review: Danger At Your Door - Comic Years
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Paradise Cove Movie Review: Danger At Your Door

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BY March 16, 2021

As I mentioned when I talked about the trailer for the new Mena Suvari movie Paradise Cove, this is the kind of movie they don’t make much anymore. The middle-grade movie–the one that, as my friend put it recently, is just meant to entertain you. But does this one succeed? We’ll get into it in my review of the movie Paradise Cove.

Back To The Future: Paradise Cove‘s Retro Feel

Although Paradise Cove ostensibly takes place in modern times, it’s got the feel of an older movie, as I mentioned in the trailer post. Like I said then, it’s similar to several thrillers of the 80s and 90s. The closest match, as I said, would probably be the 1990 film Pacific Heights. If you missed it, then it’s the one where tenant Michael Keaton terrorizes the yuppies (Melanie Griffith and Matthew Modine) upstairs. They’re also renovating their home, same as Paradise Cove.

However, looking back now, there were a lot of these kinds of movies. By that, I mean movies about how you weren’t safe in your home. It didn’t matter if you were a young roommate (Single White Female) or a married couple with a new baby (The Hand That Rocks the Cradle). There was danger at your door. In the case of Paradise Cove, the danger is actually under the door.

Paradise Cove: A Brief Discussion Of The Movie Plot

paradise cove movie review image via Quiver Distribution

After his mother’s death, Knox Bannett (Todd Grinnell) and his wife Tracey (Mena Suvari) move across the country to flip her house. It’s a house on the beach in Malibu, so it’s obviously worth a lot of money. Or it would be, if it weren’t fire-damaged. Knox plans to renovate it and then sell it for a tidy profit, while he and Tracey save money by living on-site. Money is tight, especially since they’ve been paying for IVF, but they’re hoping that both it and the house-flipping will pay off.

However, there’s a fly in the ointment. Bree (Kristin Bauer van Straten) has taken up residence on the beach underneath the home. They try various things to get her to leave, but nothing seems to stick. She claims that Knox’s mom cheated her out of the home, for one thing. And for another, many of the locals seem indulgent when it comes to her. Still, the Bannetts keep trying to relocate her, like she’s a wild animal in their yard. But Bree is unwell and she’s unwilling to move.

Paradise Cove Movie Review

paradise cove movie review image via Quiver Distribution

As this movie is a throwback to retro thrillers, I thought it would be fairly predictable. And I was correct. This movie moves exactly the way you’d think it would. For instance, this couple makes plenty of bonehead decisions, starting with Knox’s renovation plans. When the city won’t issue a permit to rebuild with two bedrooms, instead of the original one, Knox goes ahead, anyway. That, of course, effectively yanks away any official help they could get in removing their unwanted houseguest, because they can’t invite too much scrutiny.

There are lots of little logic gaps like that, enough to make the Bannetts seem like world-class ding-dongs. On that note, I’m not sure why they gave the infertility plotline so much air, unless it was to make the couple seem more sympathetic. As it is, though, it seemed extraneous. Bree, despite her homicidal tendencies, comes off as more relatable than the couple who want to evict her from her own stolen home. She at least plans to stay in Malibu for the long-haul, while they want to flip the house and go. No wonder the neighbors seem to be on her side.

As Bree, Bauer van Straten is given the most challenging role, and she makes the most of it. Bree is never scary, not in this kind of movie, but she is the most interesting to watch. However, that’s not to dismiss her costars. It’s not Suvari’s fault, for instance, that Tracey is given little to do besides fret over babies and coo over her Labradoodle. (On that note, if you’re thinking of heading over to DoesTheDogDie, don’t bother. He does. They even add in a little yelpy sound effect for it, which is truly tasteless.)

The cast does the best with the material they’re given, but in the end, it’s not substantial material. This is the kind of movie you watch for cheap thrills. In this particular movie, though, they’re few and far between.

Paradise Cove is available now on demand for rental and sale.

Tell us what you think in these comments or on our social media.

featured image via Quiver Distribution

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Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf. Email her at salome@comicyears.com.

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