- horror reviews - MOH 2020

The Rental

IMDb Info

Release Year: 2020
Runtime: 1h 28min
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre Tags: Drama, Horror, Mystery
Plot Summary: Two couples rent a vacation home for what should be a celebratory weekend get-away.

Poster - Title Card rating: notes: Slow burn, but the embers it starts with are there if you're looking for them. It switches gears halfway through to what is arguably the horror portion, but I found the paranoid relationship drama beforehand to be pretty uneasy as well.

Outside Reviews:

Brian Tallerico
3 out of 4 stars -

A relationship drama with a twist, The Rental has been accused of switching gears halfway through and becoming a different genre altogether. While one could watch the first half-hour of the film and think they had stumbled onto a Sundance indie movie that fits more in the character-driven world of co-writer Joe Swanberg than what the film eventually becomes, I disagree with the idea that this isn't a horror movie from front to back. At first, it's more about the horrors we inflict on each other, especially when we lie to our loved ones, and then debut director Dave Franco essentially makes that horror corporeal. It's not particularly new to suggest that human failures lead to actual villains - consider the origin stories of Jason and Freddy, just as an example - but there's a claustrophobic cause-and-effect in The Rental that keeps it humming, and feels fresh. The minute that two characters make a crucial decision, you know it's all downhill from there.

A.A. Dowd
Grade: C+ - Dave Franco's indie slasher The Rental is barely worth one

Some of the best horror movies are like home invasions, with the horror as the invader and some other genre playing the part of the home. Think you're watching the gentle story of a lonely widower holding fake auditions to find a new wife? Think again, because out come the needles and piano wire. Horror is definitely an interruption in The Rental, the first feature written and directed by Dave Franco. (Yes, that Dave Franco.) Though there are a few telltale signs of something menacing afoot - an ominously locked door, a couple voyeuristic POV shots of the Jason Voorhees variety - much of the first half of the film plays like a straight drama, establishing the conflicts simmering between two couples on a weekend getaway. This setup is so credible, in fact, that it's doubly disappointing when the thriller elements do finally materialize and then promptly fail to thrill; it's as if someone snatched the remote and changed the channel to a half-assed slasher starring the same characters.