Seaside is the latest dramatic thriller from Writer/Director Sam Zalutsky (You belong To Me 2007). The film tells the story of a young woman named Daphne (Ariana DeBose: Blue Bloods TV series) who finds her life in a rut, so she looks to starting anew with her boyfriend, Roger (Matt Shingledecker: Sweet Parents 2017), after he inherits a scenic, coastal beach house after his father’s passing. All seems to be going well in their relationship until the couple accidentally run into Roger’s mysterious ex, Susanna (Steffanie Leigh: Blindspot 2017). There’s clearly an awkward history to be uncovered between Roger and Susanna, and Daphne can’t help but grow more suspicious of her soon-to-be-husband as she slowly unravels the truth of his past. As per usual, there are lies, deceit, and infidelity to by found in the midst of their relationship, and the plot twists and turns in ways you wouldn’t necessarily expect.
Zalutsky clearly has a knack for directing and shot composition. The film is neatly executed and framed against the scenic backdrop of the Oregon coast. This is a location that Zalutsky is obviously familiar with, as he takes full advantage of the gorgeous surroundings whenever possible. Overall, the setting helps to elevate the film’s production quality from small indie feature to feeling like something bigger. The staging and geography are fluent and clear, and Zalutsky shows a great deal of competence when it comes to knowing where to place his camera. I did find myself wishing for more vibrancy in the film, however, and found the overall look of the movie to feel a tad bit washed-out. For such gorgeous visuals, more color would go a long way to bringing each scene to life.
Seaside would definitely be best categorized as a slow-burn, and the film does occasionally suffer from pacing problems. For example, the movie lacks a significant amount of conflict until the end of its first act, and, by that point, I was left wondering when the drama and thrills would enter the picture. Zalutsky saves face slightly by taking the plot in directions you would never be able to predict. I found his take on the typical love-triangle affair to be new and refreshing. I only wish we had gotten to all of the twists and turns sooner.
Watch Seaside Right Here!
Overall, Seaside is a competent, if slow, thriller that shows some promise for its writer/director and leading actors. Though I feel the film could use a few shots of adrenaline here and there, I found Seaside to be more enjoyable than most films in this vein. If melodramatic love triangle stories get you going, then this could be a good watch for you.