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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

THE RENTAL (Film Review)


Starring: Dan Stevens, Alison Brie, Sheila Vand

Directed by: Dave Franco


Admit it - we've all been in that spot: there just seems to be something off about that property that you rented for that special getaway. be it a hotel, B&B inn, or timeshare. Mysterious stains on the sheets...crappy reception from the WiFi, or a homicidal killer who loves to peer in on his prey before making his move to slaughter whomever's names are on the rental agreement. Here we are visiting director Dave Franco's latest offering, The Rental, and I think it's a fair assumption that you WON'T be getting a refund if there's any complaints about these accommodations.

Mr. Franco's first foray into the "horror" genre is a lukewarm one, and I'd be remiss to offer this caveat: if you came here looking for frights-aplenty, you're going to be more than let down. He's definitely onto something if he chooses to stay this particular course, but only time will tell if this film has got any staying power for the long haul. The movie itself focuses on two couples (Stevens & Brie/ Vand & Jeremy Allen) who rent an absolutely magnificent home overlooking the ocean to cut loose over the weekend and escape the everyday maladies that life can cough up. Their point-of-contact is a "slightly" racist and otherwise smarmy fella by the name of Taylor (Toby Huss), and right from the get-go you latch onto the feeling that this oddball could be the provider of some serious trouble...but stick around kiddies - time will tell and there are secrets aplenty that will come to light. 

The movie presents itself as much more of a dark dramatic piece than anything remotely close to horror-initiated, but fans of some bloodshed might want to set their alarms and wake up for the film's latter stages. I truly found this to be a paint-by-numbers experience, and when all was said and done I'd reserved myself to knowing that I'd really have no desire to eyeball this one again. Formulaic premises and stagnant performances act as deterrents, with the one exception being Brie in her portrayal of a woman who knows her worth but finds herself becoming more & more lost while this vacation moves along. If you read this review closely you'll have noticed that I conveniently left out a multitude of details, and that is the saving grace here, simply due to this: The Rental has its share of slightly twisted morality issues at hand which fuels the film's furnace and gives it the steam to progress. Unfortunately, the movie decides to pull a hard-right turn and veer directly into the oncoming blueprinted and predictable outcome that plagues the majority of products in this field. It's sad to say, but this leased nightmare was best left off at a minimal stay-cation.

The Rental hits select drive-ins, theaters and On-Demand services on July 24th.

FILM SCORE: 2 out of 5                                                                               

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