Dave Franco, brother of James, makes his directorial debut, based on a screenplay he co-wrote, with The Rental, a serviceable slasher film that shows the novice director can do a solid job creating a creepy vibe.
The film isn’t anything all that original, and you won’t feel any major sense of surprise when the story ends. You might, however, refrain from ever renting a vacation home on the Oregon coast anytime soon.
Charlie and Michelle (Dan Stevens and Alison Brie) are looking to get away for the weekend. They rent a fancy house and bring along Charlie’s brother, Josh (Jeremy Allen White) and girlfriend, Mina (Sheila Vand) for company. After an awkward meeting with the caretaker (Toby Huss, who is amassing a decent horror film resume with this and last year’s Halloween), the weekend gets off to a pleasant enough start. Then the drugs come out, and bad things happen. When Mina discovers a camera in the shower, justified paranoia reigns, followed by bodies piling up.
Credit Franco for keeping you guessing as to who is creating the bloody mayhem. The resolution i
irked me at first, but it’s growing on me. The performances put the film over the top, as does the effective score by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurrians. They definitely use sound to keep you on edge.
It’s a promising debut for Franco that, while owing a lot to past film’s like Luke Wilson’s Vacancy, manages enough coolness to warrant a rental if you are a horror aficionado.
Available for rental on iTunes, Amazon Prime, etc.