THE RENTAL (2020) Reviews of lacklustre slasher drama

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‘Secluded getaway. Killer views.’
The Rental is a 2020 American horror drama film about two couples that rent a vacation home for what should be a celebratory weekend getaway.

Written and directed by actor Dave Franco (Warm Bodies; Bad Meat; Fright Night) – making his directorial debut – with a story by Joe Swanberg, the Black Bear Pictures movie stars Dan Stevens (Blithe Spirit; Apostle; Kill Switch; The Guest; et al), Alison Brie (Scream 4; Parasomnia), Sheila Vand (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night) and Jeremy Allen White.

Plot:
Two couples looking to celebrate their seed money from a new business venture, embark on a weekend getaway to a seemingly perfect house they’ve booked online.

However, what begins as a festive weekend for the four close friends turns into something far more sinister as secrets they’ve kept from each other are exposed and paranoia grows that they may not be alone…

Release:
IFC Films released The Rental in the USA in drive-ins, theatrically and On-Demand on July 24th, 2020.

[May contain spoilers] Reviews:
” …an interesting mumblecore experiment. The gorgeous landscape and Christian Sprenger’s beautiful cinematography elevate this otherwise bland horror movie, too […] If you’re looking for something that fully explores potential dangers of private vacation rentals, well, there’s a high probability you’ll be disappointed.” Bloody Disgusting

The Rental’s slow-burn approach should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Swanberg’s mumblecore mastery, but its pacing over the course of the 88-minute runtime is methodical […] In addition to excelling at the percolation of suspense, Franco pulls off a number of creepy set pieces and, once the third act rolls around, well-executed jolts.” Broke Horror Fan

“Suspense seeps in slowly. When it finally covers all surfaces, The Rental violently breaks its gearshift switching into a traditional thriller toasted with slasher elements. I’d assess The Rental as effectively entertaining overall, even though its oil and water blend of two genres doesn’t mix cleanly together for all tastes.” Culture Crypt

“Don’t expect some extended cat and mouse sequences, there is no elaborate chase, just characters easily disposed of. While well-acted, with Brie and Stevens doing most of the heavy lifting, these characters aren’t really known to us. They feel like sketches, barely drawn out, so by the end we don’t really know much about them, therefore not really invested in their fates.” Cultured Vultures

“If you’re looking for the most subpar, generic, poorly assembled, and accidentally funny (?) horror movie on the market right now […] you’ll probably be satisfied by this. It’s so weird, on the latter side, however, that I actually came to fancy the final 5 minutes of The Rental because they felt like they were a part of an entirely different movie…” Evan Ambrose

“Franco doesn’t try to blow your mind, and that’s OK; the sense of sleek, controlled craftsmanship is satisfying enough. There are a few well-deployed red herrings and jump scares; solid work from DP Christian Sprenger, who makes particularly evocative use of insidious long shots; a nerve-wracking, quietly propulsive score by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans; and a deftly staged and edited climax that takes full advantage of the location’s interior and exterior spaces.” The Hollywood Reporter

“The isolation does a lot of the work and leaves the rest to be handled by scripting and performance. Despite the superb cast and location, the thin character work and lack of ultimate satisfaction render it somewhat forgettable. As its title suggests, this is a film best rented rather than owned.” Killer Horror Critic

” …a passable but pretty pedestrian plot. Their red herring is obvious from the get-go. To their credit, the trio is able to mine a bit of unpredictability in the final act. With that said, those looking for some type of overarching connection to what the movie turns into or an “Aha” theme are unlikely to find it here…” MMJ

“If I have a complaint, it’s that after such a patient escalation of tension, the climax feels a little rushed […] But that’s a relatively minor niggle, and for the most part Franco has pulled off a competent piece of genre filmmaking for his debut. The performances, particularly of Huss as the is-he-or-isn’t-he-the-bad-guy, are what really make The Rental worth taking time out of your own busy schedule for.” The Movie Waffler

“Most of the killings are off-screen. And the ones we do see are bloodless where they could, and should, have been shocking. They feel like they were tacked on to the soap opera dramatics […] If you like mumblecore dramas you might enjoy The Rental. But if you watch it expecting a horror film you’re going to be very disappointed.” Voices from the Balcony

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Technical details:
82 minutes

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