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The Rental: A Effective Thriller That Introduces the World to an Inspired Slasher

August 11, 2020

The Rental is a fun horror film that introduces the world to a new movie slasher, and a new director to watch. Director Dave Franco’s (21 Jump Street, The Disaster Artist) film feels very assured in itself, and it’s because he made wise casting decisions, and teamed up with writer/actor/director/producer Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies, You’re Next, Win it All) to write a meat-and-potatoes (AKA refreshingly simple) thriller that limits locations, and maximizes the budget. The beautiful Oregon location provides wonderful production value, and the cinematography by Christian Sprenger (GLOW, Atlanta, The Last Man on Earth) creates claustrophobia, and embraces the vast emptiness of the location. 

The Rental revolves around two couples having a horrible weekend at an Airbnb-esque mansion that has a beautiful ocean view and treacherous cliffs surrounding it. The unlucky foursome are the married couple Michelle (Allison Brie) and Charlie (Dan Stevens), and Mina (Sheila Vand) and Josh (Jeremy Allen White). Charlie and Josh are brothers, and Mina works with Charlie at a research facility where they put in long hours and decide they need a weekend to unwind. Since it’s a horror movie, things start off badly as Mina’s application for the rental is turned down, and Charlie’s is accepted. Which causes problems when they arrive and meet homeowner Taylor (Toby Huss), who comes across as less-than-respectable as he denies turning down Mina’s application (which causes more problems later on), and let’s himself inside when they aren’t there to drop off a telescope. 

I won’t spoil the fun that follows, just know there’s a lot of violence, drugs, bad decisions, yelling, and fog. The film breezes by, as the 88-minute running time doesn’t allow anything to linger, and prevents viewer fatigue. After the film, it was tough to sleep as the final images lingered and burrowed into my psyche. When you watch as many horror films as I do, it’s always nice when something sticks.

Watch The Rental, and hope that Franco’s follow-up is just as successful.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 13, 2020 8:38 am

    Looks pretty suspenseful. But a slasher? I’ll have to check it out and see why.

    • August 13, 2020 10:05 am

      It’s worth a watch. It’s a solid directorial debut by Franco

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