The Rental is proof that Dave Franco will overtake his brother No Arm Jimmy. Horror films on an indie scale are having a Golden Age thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, IFC is there to keep the COVID Summer at bay with a season full of killer indie fare. I’m not a shill, people. But, there is not enough praise being heaped on IFC for just slaying 2020.
While being the #1 film in the country, many will be quick to slam the thin story of The Rental. To those I ask, do you watch movies? One better, have you ever told a spooky story? When a storyteller narrows a narrative down to focus on a handful of people in a fixed location, there are no flights of fancy. A story becomes about the direct interactions of those who are being transpired against.
Josh and Mina are a lovely couple that just want to spend time away at a lovely little Rental. Due to things beyond their control, they meet up with Charlie and his wife. Alison Brie plays Michelle aka Charlie’s spouse and she’s awfully put upon from the start. You could go so far to say that Charlie is the biggest douche in the film, as he puts every on a level beneath him.
Acid gets dropped, showers are had and then an adulterous Charlie and Mina discover cameras around the Rental. Toby Huss is great in his role as the guy you believe to be the renter. But, he’s not and his subsequent death frames the rest of the movie. After all, if you angrily accuse somebody of wrongdoing and kill them…what do you do when you’re wrong?
Silent killers stalking people in remote areas is nothing new. But using the weakness of people to victimize themselves is a novel twist. Dave Franco in a stellar directorial debut keeps the action tight and focuses on what we do when we deceive. Many early viewers of the film were deeply irritated by what happened to our four leads. All the while, it made me chuckle. But, I didn’t chuckle in the way I did at Hereditary.
The Rental thrives in its ability to depict modern couples as what they are. Literally, secret egotists that are willing to slip up and debase themselves if a lurid prize comes into grasp. Fortunately, Dave Franco was willing to push the film into the darkest areas of reality. A bunch of dumb people doing dumb shit in a remote area, what do you think would happen? Life happened, people.
Given the current climate, a lot of films have been scared of going that dark. However, my appreciation for The Rental is based in that willingness to show people for being as weak as they are in this situation. No heroics, no sudden changes of personality and bitterness overpowering self-sacrifice is so true. I dig the hell out of that and it’s why I loved The Rental.