Spoiler-Free Reviews: “Beacon” and “A Family Guide to Hunting” (Tribeca Festival 2024)

June 18, 2024

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at josephperry@gmail.com. He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

Beacon (U.S., 2024)

Last year, Tribeca gave the world a top-notch tale of two strangers, a man and a woman, stuck in an isolated location with a suspenseful mystery about who might be dangerous to the other with You’ll Never Find Me. This year, the fest serves up another such pressure cooker with director Roxy Shih’s Beacon. Emily (Julia Goldani Telles), a young woman who comes from a family with a love for sailing, sets off to circumnavigate the globe, but fate in the way of a huge storm strands her at a remote lighthouse. Ismael (Demián Bichir), the lone lighthouse keeper, attempts to help the injured Emily, who is naturally suspicious of him. Questions surrounding Ismael’s ability to communicate with the outside world and his obsession with the mythological creature known as the siren complicate matters further. Shih, working from a screenplay by Julio Rojas, paces the drama and suspense wonderfully. The main drawing point of the film for me is the fantastic performances from Tellas and Bichir, who inhabit their characters masterfully. Aficionados of mysterious-stranger thrillers will want to add this effective nailbiter to their need-to-see lists.

A Family Guide to Hunting (U.S., 2024)

Four city dwellers take to the woods for an anything but leisurely day of hunting in director Zao Wang’s darkly comical short film A Family Guide to Hunting. Tenderfoots in this type of cinematic situation rarely finish their plans unscathed, and that is certainly the case here for Eva (Kahyun Kim, her boyfriend Peter (Craig Newman), and her parents June (Margaret Cho) and Sam (Keong Sim). A sudden amorous encounter between Eva and Peter leads to a gory problem for all involved, and let’s leave it at that to avoid spoilers for this fun short. Delightful performances, excellent direction, jaw-dropping gore effects, and high quality production values make this an amusing effort well worth seeking out.

Beacon and A Family Guide to Hunting screened as part of Tribeca Festival, which ran June 5–16, 2024. For more information, visit https://tribecafilm.com/festival/film.

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