The setup is all there for your usual thriller, with a few of the standard horror tropes thrown in. A couple of couples rent a house for the weekend in a very remote, yet gorgeous seaside location. There’s a caretaker who immediately comes off as kind of creepy and racist, but they just shrug it off and get on with their fun getaway, star gazing, doing a bit of ecstasy, hanging in the hot tub, hiking. But when a late night hookup with the wrong partner is about to be exposed by someone who filmed it with some cameras hidden around the house, everything spins out of control. And people start dying.
Michelle (Alison Brie, GLOW) is married to Charlie (Dan Stevens, Eurovision Song Contest, Downton Abbey). And Mina (Sheila Vand, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), who is Charlie’s business partner, is dating Josh (Jeremy Allen White), Charlie’s ne’er-do-well younger brother. So everything pretty much revolves around Charlie; and when things start going wrong, Charlie thinks he can fix it. Of course, he’s dead wrong.
So should you take the time out of your pandemic streaming to catch this one? All the actors are very good, especially Vand. But sadly the atmospheric and creepy buildup to the bloody ending is a lot better done than the actual ending. I can’t tell you more or it would ruin it if you should decide to watch, but one thing is certain, you’ll never stay in an Airbnb again without checking for cameras, and the whack jobs who installed them.
[Mainstream Chick’s take: I watched this more out of curiosity for the directorial debut of actor Dave Franco (The Disaster Artist), who also co-wrote the film, than for any interest in the mystery/thriller genre. And, I’d been obsessing in recent weeks about wanting to escape to a private beach house for a weekend – or a year. After watching The Rental, I’m thinking maybe the mountains. The Rental is well-directed and acted. But in the end, it’s a teen slasher movie – with young adults. The first half presents a rather intriguing, psychological drama centered around relationships; the second half takes a gruesome turn. Thankfully the film runs a tight 88-minutes, so even if you don’t particularly like it, you’re not stuck with these folks for all that long. -hb]
Click here to see how and where to watch The Rental, available in select theaters and VOD on July 24th.