Paradise Cove

Directed by: Martin Guigui
Starring: Mena Suvari, Todd Grinnell, Kristin Bauer van Straten

This fast-moving thriller focuses on Knox Bannett (Todd Grinnell) and his wife Tracey (Mena Suvari) who are involved in "flipping" houses. The pair take on the enormous challenge of flipping Knox's late mother's beach house on Paradise Cove in Malibu which has been severely damaged by fire, and decide to live there as soon as it can be made habitable. When that point comes, with a small work crew continuing the rehab, it only takes a short time for the Bannetts to discover that they have a squatter living in the space under part of the home, and here's where things begin to get wild. Knox tries to cajole "Bree," played by Kristin Bauer van Straten, into leaving, even offering her money at one point to skedaddle. Bree takes the money but goes nowhere and when the Bannetts call the sheriff he says he can't do anything; as the story develops it turns out that Bree is not just a homeless person, she's known to many in the local population and many empathize with her situation (why they do comes out much later in the film.) Bree's refusal to vacate turns into a full-on campaign of torment as she harasses the couple, messes with their belongings inside the house and sabotages the progress of the remodel. Adding to the stress of the situation for the Bannetts is the fact that the couple has been unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant. Knox and Tracey, while ruthlessly antagonized throughout, display the ultimate in restraint for most of the film. Van Straten on the other hand steals the show with her deliciously evil portrayal of Bree, whose mental illness and malicious tendencies come to a head, even to the point that she is willing to take a life. Van Straten's portrayal of Bree is so convincing that viewers will likely sympathize with her character early in the film before changing their minds when all hell breaks loose near film's end. Tons of thrills here and plenty of alluring Malibu footage as a bonus.


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