Actor Dave Franco has his directorial debut with the thriller/horror film, called The Rental. Unfortunately, this film is not the stellar debut one might have wanted.
Two couples rent out a vacation home and head out to spend a weekend. Two members of the couples are brothers, Charlie (Dan Stevens) and Josh (Jeremy Allen White). Josh is dating Mina (Sheila Vand), a close co-worker of Charlie. Michelle (Alison Brie) is with Charlie. The two couples seem happy, but Mina is looking for a fight with the owner of the house, Taylor (Toby Huss), who they perceive as racist.
Eventually, the group begins to believe that Taylor has been spying on them during the weekend.
I am going to talk about this film with SPOILERS because a huge part of the problems with this movie comes about because of them, so be warned.
The first night finds Charlie, Josh and Mina partaking in some drug use, though Michelle is too tired. This leads to Josh passing out and Charlie and Mina in the hot tub. What starts out innocent, leads to the two of them kissing. Instead of continuing out in the open in the hot tub, they take it to the shower and they have sex.
The next day, after agreeing that their encounter could never happen again, Mina goes to shower again, but finds a hidden camera in the shower nozzle. They immediately jump to the assumption that this is Taylor, being more than just racist. They also begin to panic, because they had their tryst in the shower, so there is visual evidence of their bad deeds.
Michelle, who is unaware of any of this, calls Taylor to come fix the currently broken hot tub, and Mina cannot help herself. She confronts him in the bathroom and they get in a fight. Josh comes running into the bathroom and beats the crap out of Taylor, leaving him unconscious in the tub. The group gets together to try and decide what they were going to do. Meanwhile, a gloved hand covers Taylor’s nose and mouth, suffocating him.
This is, of course, one of the biggest issues here. We did know that someone had been watching this group, but there was no indication anywhere that that person was a killer. We knew nothing about this man or the situation that was happening.
At this point, the film basically turns into a slasher film, with this killer in a weird mask. That comes completely out of nowhere and changes the tone of the film 100%. Amazingly though, after hour plus of character development, I could not have given two craps about these characters. None of them were worth anything. I wonder if that was the idea. Provide the audience with four characters that could be easily bumped off, that you would want to see killed. That did not work for me, since I did not have any emotional connection to these four, I did not have any feeling of anxiety for them. The whole slasher film part just felt out of place, if not even just tacked on.
The cast is great. I just wish they were given something with more substance to it for them to dig their teeth into.
There are some hilarious moments in the film too, and I am not sure it is intentional.
This had the potential to be something good, but the execution of the plot was ineffective and boring, the characters were all unlikable and the movie takes an odd twist from out of nowhere. The Rental is a disappointment.