Best known for his acting skills over his directorial and writing career, Dave Franco is adding feature-length films to his repertoire. If you don’t want to watch the full trailer (below) for The Rental, check out the Mother of Movies’ Facebook page for the teaser. You won’t see Franco’s face in his directorial debut but you might have seen him in many other films. He’s been in Nerve, 6 Underground, and Bad Neighbours to name a few. Instead, an ensemble cast of recognizable faces takes the form of two couples who find an Airbnb at the beach and stay there to celebrate.
The Rental doesn’t break any new ground but it’s an easy watch. The two married couples are engaging and interesting instead of just serving the purpose of being onscreen and spied on. The creeper in this film is not a character that is honed in on like in many stories of this ilk. I think that’s what I liked most about the movie as a whole. Comparably, the focus is on the underlying drama that develops between the four friends. As the well-established core group discovers their relationships aren’t as solid as they thought, the added scenario that someone is watching them slithers in.
The home itself is massive and sits right on the edge of a cliff face. Filming took place in Brandon, Southern Oregon, and the location adds to the feeling of being in a place that’s isolated. There is fog and darkness and Autumn color palettes which all add to an already gripping sequence of events.
Directorial Debut For Dave Franco
According to the director’s statements, the idea for The Rental came from Franco’s paranoia about people who share their homes. He went on to add that; “the country is as divided as it’s ever been and no one trusts each other. Yet we trust staying in the home of a stranger simply because of a few positive reviews online.”
Franco achieves the gradual build of tension successfully and the underlying atmospheric darkness is more palpable when what’s happening on the screen is normalized. And in this film, you will not find a plethora of jump-scares loosely placed within the storyline. The two married couples are simply looking for a weekend away. They smuggle their small dog along, get messy, and talk about their lives and achievements.
When they first arrive at the house, Taylor, the owner’s brother, greets them in a less than friendly manner. Charlie, Michelle, Josh, and Mina have already let themselves inside. On top of this Mina already thinks Taylor rejected her application to rent the property based on her ethnic-sounding surname and throws some shade towards their weekend host.
There’s nothing wrong with this movie or the storyline within it. However, if you’ve seen films like 13 Cameras, 14 Cameras, and Keep Watching you might find this one a little predictable. Still, I liked The Rental because I’ve often wondered about the possibility of finding hidden cameras. It could be a hotel, a share-house, or just places that you stop in for a longer amount of time than usual. Of course, the tech-savvy perves and murderers are probably getting smarter and the technology getting smaller so it’s best you school yourself on this type of behavior and watch as many creeper movies as you can.
I give The Rental
3.5 Secluded getaway, Killer views out of 5
The Rental Production and Release Details
- Director: Dave Franco.
- Release Date: 24th July 2020, from IFC Films.
- Writers: Screenplay by Dave Franco and Joe Swanberg. Story by Franco, Swanberg (V/H/S), and Mike Memski (Uncle Nick.)
- Cast: Alison Brie (Horse Girl & Glow), Dan Stevens (Downtown Abbey), Jeremy Allen White (Shameless), Toby Huss (Halt), Sheila Vand (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), Anthony Molinari (Black Mass.)
- Runtime: 88 Minutes
- Genre: Thriller / Horror