The Reel Review
Two couples renting a cliffside beach house for the weekend find themselves fighting for their lives when plans for hiking, hot tubbing and partying at their Airbnb devolve into deadly terror, in this horror/mystery.
In his directorial debut, The Rental co-writer Dave Franco plays on the biggest fear of anyone doing a short-term vacation rental – that hidden cameras are monitoring their every move. It also tells the tale of how deception and bad decision-making leads to dire consequences for the two couples who both happen to be on serious breakup watch, played by Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast, Downton Abbey), Alison Brie (Promising Young Woman, Community), Jeremy Allen White (Shameless) and Sheila Vand (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night). Franco’s camera shots from a voyeur’s point of view make it clear that someone is spying on them. But who? And why?
The slightly twisty film almost feels like two movies – the first half is more of a really slow moving, dimly lit relationship drama, with a second half that is more of a predictable, cliché-filled slasher flick – just frustratingly, one without a coherent point. There are a few decent scares, but the film culminates in a strange, ambiguous ending that will be unsatisfying for most viewers.
• The Rental star Alison Brie is married to the film’s co-writer/director Dave Franco.
• The Rental was filmed at the SeaWinds Estate just north of Coos Bay, Oregon. Director Dave Franco says he spent the night at the house and the large windows gave him the feeling that someone could be watching him.
• Alison Brie and Toby Huss (who plays the renter) also co-starred in 2020’s Horse Girl.