The Rental Review: A crafty thriller with decisive staging.

Sajid Ali -

The Rental Review: A crafty thriller with decisive staging.

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Format:   Movie
Platform:   Google Play & Vudu
Movie Rated: 18+
Genre:   Comedy, Crime, Drama
Language:   German
Digital Premiere Date:   21 July 2020

 

What is the story about?
It’s a horror-thriller where two couples rent an Airbnb vacation home to unwind their stressful professional lives. But things get out of control and what should’ve been a celebratory weekend getaway turns ugly. The Rental is actor Dave Franco’s directorial debut which he co-wrote with Joe Swanberg.
 
Performances
The film had a very limited cast. And every character had good scope to showcase their acting chops. Alison Brie (Michelle) did a good one followed by Jeremy Allen (Josh) who plays a troubled brother coping up with life. Sheila Vand (Mina) comes as a commendable one, whilst Dan Stevens (Charlie) dishes out a solid one. The actors had great chemistry among themselves, which played really well for a thriller with restrained relationships. And not to forget the veteran Toby Huss (Taylor) who adds a little spark to the film.
 
Analysis
Dave Franco is widely known for comedies and him making a debut as a director with a horror-thriller was a fresh breath of air. The film adds to the list of Airbnb invasion thrillers. Still it manages to bring something new to the table. Dave was decisive with staging the story and takes ample time for the characters and the audience to get comfortable. Just when you think, you can lay back he hits you with a series of events which follows on a burgeoning spree. Dave and Joe lead the audience to believe “The Rental” is taking the clichéd route but throws them away with a surprising second half which keeps you at your toes. The Rental induces a fear factor which is going to stick with the audience for a while. 
 
The Rental is a perfect film which sets an example in how a film can be made with a constrained environment during this pandemic. IFC Films has been dishing out some really dark films recently, their previous release “The Relic” was an eerie ride. The release of The Rental is right up the vacation alley but with the current situation, one may not travel far but something close at a length of a drive. And the fact of living in someone else’s house you’ve never met was perfectly exploited by the director. 
 
Music and other Departments
The constrained environment is where the creative juices flow to keep the audience engaged so that they don’t bored with seeing the same thing again and again. The cinematography by Christian Sprenger was brilliant. There’s a portion in the film when they shift the narrative to a different viewing experience which was well-edited and put together by Kyle Reiter.  The background score was elevating and kept a tight leash on staging the suspense.
 
Highlights
Decisive staging of the story made The Rental an engaging thriller and catches you off guard. Despite coming off a comedy background, Dave was spot on with thriller a debut. 
 
Drawbacks
Not much to complaint, it did great and doesn’t disappoint you. Yes, there were a few other angles which story could’ve been explored, but that might’ve ended being a cliché.
 
Did I enjoy it?
I thoroughly enjoyed it.
 
Do I recommend it and why?
Yes, I recommend this for your weekend pick. It’ll definitely keep you hooked and won’t disappoint you. The film is available on VOD from IFC films.
 
 
 

 

Directors : Dave Franco
Producer/s : Dave Franco, Elizabeth Haggard, Teddy Schwarzman, Ben Stillman, Joe Swanberg, Christopher Storer.
Cinematographer (DoP) : Christian Sprenger
Production House : Black Bear Pictures
Music : Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans

Movie Duration (minutes) : 88
Digital Premiere Date : July 24, 2020

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