Image Courtesy of IFC Films

Film Review: The Rental

12:00 August 04, 2020
By: David Vicari

The Rental is a fairly tepid attempt at a horror movie. For most of its 90-minute running time, it's an excruciatingly dull soap opera; then, in its last 15 minutes or so, it becomes a generic slasher film.

Two couples rent a beach house for a weekend getaway, but things spiral out of control when they suspect that they are being spied on. Even before they feel that they are being watched, there is tension within the group.

The movie stars Dan Stevens and Alison Brie as one couple and Sheila Vand and Jeremy Allen White as the other, with Toby Huss as the creepy and racist property owner. The performances are good, but the problem is that all these characters are thoroughly unlikable. I didn't really care what happened to them, even with the possibility of them getting murdered.

Actor Dave Franco directs the film, from a screenplay by Joe Swanberg and himself, based on a story that they created with Mike Demski. So, Franco, making his directorial debut, is mostly to blame here. To be fair, I do feel Franco has the ability to make a good movie. He faintly shows skills from behind the camera every now and then with The Rental. Early on in the movie, he was able to develop some tension among the characters, but that was before I realized that everything in the first hour was one long and pointless red herring. Next time, Franco needs to direct from a better script.

The Rental is currently playing at Chalmette Movies and is streaming on Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and Google Play Movies and TV.

** Stars (Out of Four)

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