Review Day 11: The Rental (2020)
Dave Franco isn’t the name you might think of when you hear about horror, but he has made his directorial debut with horror/thriller The Rental (2020). He co-wrote the script with Joe Swanberg and opted to direct the film instead of star as originally planned. The man has had a great career thus far, with great roles in a range of films such as 21 Jump Street (2012), Warm Bodies (2013) and The Disaster Artist (2017). Taking the leap into the director’s chair is a big change for an actor, but was he able to pull it off? In one simple word, yes.
The Rental (2020) sees two couples Charlie (Dan Stevens), his wife Michelle (Alison Brie), his brother Josh (Jeremy Allen White) and his girlfriend Mina (Sheila Vand) decide to hire a holiday home for a weekend getaway together. Charlie and Mina work together and are quite close, however the couples already feel a weird vibe when Mina was rejected for the rental, but Charlie was not, feeling the renter Taylor (Toby Huss) is being racist. Josh sneaks his dog Reggie along for the ride, and the tensions seem a little high, but once they arrive at the secluded house things seem to calm down. But not everything feels alright, as the couples enter into their weekend, it seems like something isn’t quite right with the house.
The film really gets it’s hooks in by developing these four main characters, and exposing the issues between them. It is part relationship drama, between these characters, and their actions throughout the film will have consequences as it goes on. The real horror of the film is what seems to be surrounding these characters, Taylor giving them bad vibes, a shocking discovery inside the house, and then it really amps up with the third act. The tension really boils over with that third act, it is white knuckle intense, and really very creepy. The cast handle everything quite well, having the right chemistry between them, and playing the roles in just the right way.
This is an interesting and intense film, Dave Franco not only co-wrote a very solid script, he did a good job as director as well. He certainly knows his craft, the story felt like it was based on something personal and there is something very unsettling in the air through the entire film. The ending itself is unexpected in many ways, and Franco made some smart decisions in how he decided to handle it. The Rental is a really good addition to the horror genre this year, something a little different and presenting some very real issues. It may not be a film suited to everyone, but it is worth checking out all the same.
Review written by Marcella Papandrea