The Rental. Quick Review

Two couples rent an idyllic holiday home for a weekend getaway in this slow-burn psychological horror first feature from director Dave Franco. Given the premise, it won’t be surprising to learn this is fairly straight forward four handers with Dan Stevens, Alison Brie Sheila Vand and Jeremy Allen White in the central roles. The concept well very well worn is the sort of thing that can be done well in certain circumstances. Unfortunately, this is distinctly not the case for Franco and his friends. The narrative tries a juxtaposition of its intended character/ interpersonal focus but this is not backed up by a script the paints the characters as paper-thin. This is despite the four main players trying their best with the substandard material. Alison Brie and Dan Stevens typically deliver kind of performances that can elevate below-average content but there’s none of that here. Franco shows a potentially decent visual eye but this isn’t nearly enough to compensate for the narratives inherent weakness. The third act is better paced with a slightly greater sense of momentum. Unfortunately by this point, the majority of viewers may well have checked out.
Watching a slow burn psychological character drama with no engaging figures on story beets whatsoever feels entirely counter-intuitive. Granted The Rental it far from the worst directorial vanity project from an established celebrity released in 2020. This was the year that birthed The Fanatic onto the cinematic landscape. That said it offers nothing new or interesting in what is a very well worn subgenre where distinctive qualities are needed to stand out. Unless watchers have a weakness for this brand of psychological thriller/ horror the film is best avoided.
4/10

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