Dave Franco comes out swinging with his directorial debut thriller film ‘The Rental,’ a movie he co-wrote with Joe Swanberg. It was made by Black Bear Pictures and released through IFC Films. On another note, it had its premiere at the Vineland Drive-In.
Charlie (Dan Stevens), his wife Michelle (Alison Brie), his brother Josh (Jeremy Allen White), and his girlfriend Mina (Sheila Vand), who’s also Charlie’s business partner, decide to have a weekend vacation by renting an isolated oceanview house. Mina is irked by the odd house manager Taylor (Toby Huss), who she thinks originally denied her rental based on her Indian race, but rented her white boyfriend. Taylor denies this and leaves, promising to return with a telescope. The group had also smuggled drugs and their Frenchie bulldog pet. After getting high, Josh passes out, Michelle goes to bed, but Charlie and Mina have an affair. The next day, the pair are instantly regretful, but before they can decide what to do, they find cameras in the shower. While trying to keep this quiet, odd occurrences start happening in their rental house causing the four to begin to mistrust each other, even as Charlie and Mina try to keep their affair a secret.
I would like to applaud the cast, especially with it being so small. All five of the principal actors did a fantastic job. You truly feel every moment of joy, worry, and terror as they navigate the strange events that are causing them to panic. Their performances make the movie thrilling from beginning to end.
If this is Dave Franco‘s directorial debut, then we can expect excellent things from him. The fact that he co-wrote the screenplay and directed showed that he took great care in developing the plot. He does of a good job of bringing the story to fruition and making you feel genuine chills down your spine as the story goes from bad to worse.
On the writing, I think it is well-paced. It does not overstay its welcome, coming together in a crashing crescendo that makes you jolt. I will say, there are two points of criticism I have. The conversation with Toby Huss and Sheila Vand’s over racism was a bit overplayed and unnecessary. The second is nitpicky, I will admit, but I thought the title appeared at kind of a weird place in the film. You see the set-up and a little bit more, then BOOM “The Rental” appears on the screen. It felt out of place and should have been put in earlier, in my opinion.
Bottom line, The Rental keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end as a thriller and a story. Dave Franco does a good job in debut in the director’s chair and I hope to see more from him.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Strong foul language, Brutal violence, Substance abuse, Sexual content including voyeurism
FAVORITE QUOTE: We get through the night, we leave first thing in the morning.
Check out the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my movie reviews of Becky, The Invisible Man, and Revenge Ride. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.