THE RENTAL Review – Killer Views

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In her The Rental review, film critic Staci Layne Wilson says Dave Franco’s latest is an ably-directed thriller with a thick and moody atmosphere.

The Rental ReviewAt the beginning of The Rental, we meet 20-somethings Mina (Sheila Vand, Snowpiercer) and Charlie (Dan Stevens, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga) just as they are oohing and ahhing online at a gorgeous seaside bungalow that they’re considering for the weekend. It looks so private and romantic. Perfect!

But then Charlie’s brother Josh (Jeremy Allen White, Shameless) enters the scene, and he and Nina share a kiss. So… Charlie and Nina are not together; they’re business partners. Charlie’s married to Michelle (Alison Brie, GLOW), and we soon learn that the four are planning a wild weekend retreat complete with hallucinogenic libations and hot-tub soaks.

If you’ve ever perused online for a hotel or a house rental for your flawless getaway, you know how effectively those too-good-to-be-true photos and descriptions can whet your appetite for R & R. But of course, The Rental is a thriller, and the cabin is in the faraway woods. Shortly after their arrival, strange things start happening, leading the paranoid pairs to suspect their host (Toby Huss) of spying on them. What should have been a celebratory, carefree jaunt turns into something sinister as secrets are exposed.

Writer/Director Dave Franco is best known for his acting in comedies, so his directorial debut may come as a surprise to fans. While there’s no new ground being broken here, Franco does an able job at keeping the twists and the thrills coming. It’s not a suspenseful, dread-inducing story and there aren’t any stalk-and-chase scenes, but the atmosphere is kept thick and spooky thanks to an unsettling score and moody cinematography. And, thanks to Franco’s Hollywood connections, the acting is well above-par from what one usually finds in direct-to-VOD horror flicks. (Fun fact: Brie is the filmmaker’s wife.)

The Rental is an entertaining popcorn flick that’s perfect for a cozy movie night at home — yours or someone else’s.

1 Hour 28 Minutes
Rated R

Does this The Rental movie review make you want to rent it? It is scheduled to be released on July 24, 2020, by IFC Films on VOD and in theaters. Check Rotten Tomatoes for updates.

In her The Rental review, film critic Staci Layne Wilson says Dave Franco’s latest is an ably-directed thriller with a thick and moody atmosphere.

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Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson is an accomplished writer / director / producer / film critic and the author the bestseller So L.A. - A Hollywood Memoir. Find her on

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