Paradise Cove (2021)

A couple finds themselves terrorized by a homeless woman with ties to the husband in this exciting thriller.

Knox Bannett and his wife Tracey have come to Malibu from Detroit after Knox’s mother has passed away and has given the couple her home. Upon their arrival, they see the house in a disastrous array. The plan is for them to fix it and eventually sell it. In addition, the couple have been attempting to have a baby but have had difficulty. But things are about to get a whole lot worse when they find a shocking discovery.

Bree Levy, a one-time well-respected member of the community, has lost everything and has found herself homeless and living under the Bannett home. Bree decides to make things very difficult for Knox and Tracey. Playing sick mind games, she is determined to show the house flippers that she isn’t going anywhere. When police will not get involved, Bree takes advantage of the situation by causing the couple to slowly disband and it all comes to a head when Knox has had enough and discovers an even more shocking secret. One that can tear everything apart or one he can face and ensure his and Tracey’s safety once and for all.

Based on a story told to screenwriter Sherry Klein, this film will bring to mind Pacific Heights, but done in a more crazy and eroticized tone to things. Martin Guigui brings his stylish vision to the film, which will show a new side of an actor known for more comic work.

Todd Grinnell, who played the rebooted handyman Schneider on the four-season remake of One Day at a Time, gives off a more serious vibe in the role of Knox, a house flipper who wants to take care of his late mother’s home with the intention of “flipping” it. For those unfamiliar, it means to fix up and sell the property. We see Knox do his best to do the job and find himself at grips with the reality that comes before him and we learn that he’s not such a great guy. Perhaps this is due to his situations and in a way, brings a more human side to the character.

It seems like Mena Suvari, after her groundbreaking roles in the American Pie franchise and American Beauty, has found her niche with thrillers. With last year’s The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and What Lies Below, she once again brings the terrified yet strong-willed persona to the table as Tracey, Knox’s wife who seems to first act as a socialite with a dog. However, like her husband, she faces some harsh realities that alter her persona and brings her back down on Earth.

As for Kristen Bauer van Starten, the former True Blood actress chews up the scene as antagonist Bree. She comes off as deliciously evil as throughout the film, we learn she was a former model who lost her son in a drowning accident, which in turn causes her to lose it all. Despite her homeless situation, she still feels she belongs and will do whatever it takes to ensure that she keeps her place in line. And she does it through manipulation and seduction in such a way it doesn’t go into a certain territory but enough to give its merit.

Paradise Cove is a tense thriller that churns out some great performances from Todd Grinnell, Mena Suvari, and Kristen Bauer van Straten with a few shocking twists and a bit of a predictable ending, but still worth checking out.

WFG RATING: B-

Quiver Distribution presents a Sunset Pictures production in association with Thunder Studios. Director: Martin Guigui. Producer: Dahlia Waingort. Writer: Sherry Klein. Cinematography: Massimo Zeri. Editing: Eric Potter.

Cast: Todd Grinnell, Mena Suvari, Kristen Bauer van Straten, Eddie Goines, Krista Allen, Horacio Galaviz, Eddie Rivera, Ruben Garfias, Kelsey Connor Keener, Karl T. Wright, Scott Anthony Leet, Dahlia Waingort.

The film comes to Digital on February 12.

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