‘THE Rental’ is a thriller being shown in some SM outlets today and in Drive in Cinema One Vertis North as a Halloween presentation, but there’s nothing supernatural in it like in a regular ghost story. It is the directorial debut of Dave Franco, brother of the more popular James. As an actor, he made quite an impact in that entertaining adventure-thriller “Nerve”, with Emma Roberts.
It’s about a couple, Charlie (Dan Stevens, who’s so ubiquitous he doesn’t seem to know how to say no to any offer that comes his way) and his wife Michelle (Allison Brie, who’s the wife of Dave Franco in real life) who goes to a rental house perched on a rocky cliff by the sea for a weekend vacation. Joining them are Charlie’s ex-con brother, Josh (Jeremy Allen White), and his girlfriend, Mina (Shiela Vand), who insist on bringing their dog even if it’s not allowed.
On the first night of their vacation in that beautiful seaside house, Mina and Josh, together with Charlie, get high on booze and drugs. Michelle chooses to just go to sleep. Josh also falls asleep, but Charlie and Mina make love in the shower. With this kind of setup, you know these characters are somehow doomed.
Mina later finds out there’s a hidden camera in the shower, so it means that her lovemaking with Charlie has been recorded. She tells Josh about the camera and Josh thinks it’s the caretaker of the house who did it and confronts him. Things get from bad the worse.
Someone smothers the caretaker to death and soon, they are being attacked by an unknown assailant. Whoever is manipulating them shows to Michelle the footage of Charlie and Mina under the shower and, outraged, she leaves, only to be killed by a masked man. And so they die, one by one.
Then the masked man gets rid of all the evidence and the cameras. He moves to another house that has new victims occupying it. The movie is actually some kind of a home invasion thriller. The truth is that it has little to offer in terms of real thrills or scares.
For this kind of film to work, the characters have to be sympathetic but, sorry, they’re all dumb, clumsy and they all deserve to die as they are just being punished for their sins and stupidity. Whoever his manager is, Stevens should fire him for accepting this crappy project where he plays such an annoying character.