Dave Franco, widely known for comedy, branches out this time to horror instead of being in front of the camera he's behind it. Having written and directed this fun horror I can't wait to see what's next.
I liked it. The premise is of course not especially original (some friends for the weekend go to a vacation house and are being harassed by strange phenomena and brutal force from un unknown source), but within this genre it's a fine movie with a solid story and pretty good acting. All four characters get some personal depth, the tension is slowly being built up and when things definitely go awry the pace is high and the violent goings-on are pretty scary.After the climax of the movie, there's some sort of epilogue that in a calm and matter-of-fact way shows how things can (and will) happen again, with the cynical message that it can happen to any of us. But this takes like five minutes of very slow images, so after all the turmoil it feels a bit as an anti-climax. Although partly incorporating the closing credits in these images was a nice touch.
The Rental is a new horror thriller directed, written and produced by Dave Franco. This is the first film he has directed and he is more known as an actor in the film world.In the film, brothers Charlie (Dan Stevens) and Josh (Jeremy Allen White) decide to go on a weekend trip with their friends. They have found a perfect house online by the sea and are trying to make it a pleasant weekend. They only suspect that their landlord is somewhat racist towards Josh his Muslim girlfriend Mina (Sheila Vand). Despite this mistrust, the four try to make it a fun weekend, but during this time together they get to know each other better than they expected. This is how their mutual relationships are tested. When Charlie discovers they've been secretly filmed all weekend, he must choose to find the hidden footage or confess what he secretly did over the weekend.Dave Franco has portrayed this film as his first directed film, but he has also taken on a bit too much hay by partly writing and producing this film. By taking on all these different tasks, he still struggles to convey the film clearly. At one point, the movie almost comes across as a long episode of Temptation Island and turns more into a teen drama than a horror thriller. This aspect comes to the fore without further explanation. Due to these unclear and sudden changes of genre, the film can come across as tedious.The acting comes across as nice, but due to the unclear script, the cast doesn't really have many chances to make something special out of their roles. The characters initially come across as adults with work, but later the characters behave more like teenagers.
I really wanted to love the hell out of 'The Rental'. The trailer looked great. The cast (particularly Dan Stevens and Alison Brie) sold me. The fact that Dave Franco was making his feature film debut as screenwriter and director intrigued me. I was cheerleading for this movie to be a good, if not great.But this movie was, unfortunately, only a 'watch once/mixed bag' kind of flick. It's the plot of almost any low-budget "Home Invasion" or voyeuristic horror movie made in the last 10 years but with a slightly prettier package. Netflix's 'The Open House', 'Afraid', 'Ratter', 'Hangman', '13 Cameras', '14 Cameras'... if you've seen any of those movies, then know what to expect with TR.I cannot fault Dave Franco's solid directing, the cinematography and good cast performances - it was great to see Alison Brie return to the horror genre since her appearance in 'Scream 4' and Dan Stevens is always a treat. But unfortunately, the storyline for The Rental is just too bland and predictable to make a real mark. I expected more suspense and something a little more memorable than something that can sit in a crowd of similar titles and still be seen as derivative and unremarkable. I also didn't have the best time with these characters; too much relationship drama and not enough build-up of suspense.I'd have given this a 4/10, but I'll give it an extra star because of the cast, direction, and good production values of the movie overall. Still, a "rental" at best.5/10.
Overall I thought it was great! It was gripping, the storyline was solid and atmosphere was on point the whole way through. Would definitely recommend if you liked The Strangers and You're Next.