The Rental is a horror/thriller movie by Dave Franco in his directorial debut and stars Dan Stevens, Alison Brie, Sheila Vand and Jeremy Allen White.
Drama, nay, thriller
The Rental follows brothers Charlie and Josh who, with their respective partners Michelle and Mina, drive up to a remote rental home to enjoy some alone time and drug-fuelled partying. However, things don’t go as they planned, and instead, go south pretty soon.
Honestly, I really wanted to like The Rental. The movie starts off quite promising, and the great direction, acting and cinematography totally had me hooked. However, as the story progressed, I realised that the thriller angle might just not be ideal for it.
So, Charlie and Mina are business partners whose close work bond kinda spills over into their personal lives as well. You can see that clear as day. Their spouses are very loving towards them, and the getaway thus seems like the perfect bonding experience. The first night goes great for the most part. There’s ecstasy, some crazy amounts of dancing, and a dip in the hot tub. However, as soon as everyone else is asleep, Charlie and Mina are up to no good.
This decision, although both regret the next morning, comes to bite them in the butt when Mina realises there are hidden cameras in the house. Their suspicion falls on the racist homeowner but later on, they realise that there are other things to be worried about.
There are several problems in The Rental. First of all, none of these people are even remotely likeable. Charlie is a pretentious prick, Josh is a hot-head who fights first and thinks later and Michelle is so good that she’s annoying. Mina is the most interesting person here until she cheats on her boyfriend. Apart from not being likeable, these 4 adults make one wrong decision after another. It’s like they’re incapable of making rational decisions, which annoys you to no end.
Moreover, most of the movie is talking. There’s not enough doing to make the 88-minute runtime thrilling. There are entire scenes dedicated to following people around the house, and you can sense when something’s about to happen from miles away. The Rental tries to pick up the pace, but the main characters do not put up much of a fight against the killer which is always a bummer.
Talking about the killer, I think it is the laziest, and one of the most interesting ways to include a psychotic murderer. Laziest because we know absolutely nothing about this person. He just randomly comes in and murders people and that’s it. However, I think that’s a saving grace as well. Honestly, there’s something very messed up about some random person installing cameras all over a rental property that not even the owner knows about. And after everything is done, the way he cleans up probably shows that this isn’t his first stint.
However, inspite of this, it’s just not enough to make it a worthwhile watch.
I think the best thing that The Rental could’ve done is stuck to voyeurism and the frightening concept of hotels and rental properties. Cameras in the bathroom are the real horrors here, instead of a mask-wearing madman out to kill people. That angle wasn’t really done that well, and the dismal number of clichés just doesn’t do anything for it.
Summing up: The Rental
The Rental really was promising and the production quality was top notch. The strong performances from the lead cast could really have blossomed had the story had enough punch and direction. The movie oftentimes feels all over the place, and thus meanders and becomes boring and tends to drag. And at other times, when action is on the cards, it’s nothing we haven’t seen, so it’s not much surprising. The Rental should’ve stuck to the voyeurism instead of taking the slasher route.
The Rental is (funnily) available on rent here.
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