• Mike Holtz

Horror Movie Review: 'The Rental'

Directed by: Dave Franco

Starring: Dan Stevens (The Guest), Alison Brie (Community), Sheila Vand (A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night), Jeremy Allen White (Shameless) and Toby Huss (Halloween)

Plot Synopsis: A group of couples rent an Air B and B and things get really fucked up. Look, it's best if this one is kept as vague as possible. I went in blind and enjoyed my experience, I'd recommend doing the same.

There's multiple things to be afraid of in 'The Rental' without getting into specifics. Adultery being one of, if not the scariest. For both the adulterers and their victims. Then, in a close second, the many possible horrors that come with whatever the mind can conjure up involving the possible pit falls of Air B and B's.

Nothing in 'The Rental' really breaks the horror genre wide open or is particularly frightening for two thirds of the running time but that's not to say it isn't full of tension. Though nothing sinister happens for quite awhile, you can still sense the Jenga pieces slipping and know that when they do, the impending fall will be horrifically messy for everyone involved.

The cinematography is gorgeous and moody as fuck. The pacing as things ramp up is shockingly well oiled and for more than one reason (Two of them completely obvious and a little too on the nose), I had serious 'Drive' vibes going on which is totally not where I expected this to go with a first time director. Don't get me wrong, it's not the genre of 'Drive' the movie dips in but rather some of its particular visuals and does a good job with it.

'The Rental' to its advantage, uses the tension of relationships, the fragility of its characters emotions and the sinking feeling of realizing we aren't going to be able to escape the consequences of our worst choices. Then the horror act kicks in.

There's some beautiful shots that take advantage of the scenery and turn generic "chase" scenes into works of art that fans looking for more than just scares will be able to appreciate. Fans looking for something to really jar them may come away disappointed with the low number of actual scares and the time it takes for these moments to start up. This is definitely a film that wouldn't have worked with an uninteresting or poorly acted cast.

However, I found it pretty easy to get involved with this group of actresses and actors (Dan Stevens is forever underrated) making the entire situation something easy and entertaining to fall into for a while. Even before the horror. You can definitely sense Joe Swanberg's 'Drinking Buddies' writing style at work and it's one I really enjoy. Overall, I'd absolutely recommend this surprising ass horror/thriller and I look forward to seeing what Dave Franco does next. Just try to keep in mind the relationship dynamics truly pave the way in this one.

7.5/10 'The Rental' is currently available to rent on most VOD streaming platforms

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