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Some tricky genre juggling makes The Rental a bit of a fixer-upper, but effective chills and a solid cast make this a fine destination for horror fans. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Two couples on an oceanside getaway grow suspicious that the host of their seemingly perfect rental house may be spying on them. Before long, what should have been a celebratory weekend trip turns into something far more sinister.

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Critic Reviews for The Rental

All Critics (193) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (144) | Rotten (49)

  • Delivering solid thrills and an ugly portrait of disintegrating relationships, The Rental is a clever meld of drama and horror.

    February 28, 2021 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Billed as an indie slasher, it works even better as a wickedly unsympathetic chamber piece.

    January 21, 2021 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It's pretty basic boilerplate, scary-movie stuff, with tropes and tricks that have already been extensively satirised elsewhere.

    January 20, 2021 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • The Rental has a familiar plot with familiar story beats, but it is so well-paced and deliberate, and its cast so good, that even though you know where it's going, it's still immensely satisfying to take the journey.

    August 4, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Confidently weaves real world anxieties with all the twisted, sinister possibilities the horror genre affords.

    August 3, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Stranded-in-a-cabin tropes tend to be a lot of fun. So it's easy to get on board with the premise of The Rental, especially given the front-loaded tension between its two couples.

    July 30, 2020 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Rental

  • Feb 15, 2021
    Dave Franco shows promise as a filmmaker as he visually captures the proper tone of this thriller with a theme about invasion of privacy. The film's climax tries to punctuate the film's theme but does so sloppily which may leave many viewers unsatisfied.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer
  • Jul 28, 2020
    The Rental is an indie slasher film. You may feel this is a negative comment but it's a positive. It throws the cliche playbook out the door and allows this film to slowburn. The pacing will throw people off and the jagged shift in tone is another. I personally thought the film didn't earn that ending and Dave Franco, who is also making his filmmaking debut, struggles to maintain the tone. I enjoyed the characters but the story beats and backstory feel forced. The film has a mystery and the lack of a menacing figure distracts. The characters never feel in danger and the sinister figure is alluded to but never shown. I would've liked more villain lurking and stalking, but that's just me. The shift for the characters and that final third is a little tough to swallow. I did enjoy the indie style and I would recommend this in a year with low content. 27/07/2020
    Brendan O Super Reviewer
  • Jul 26, 2020
    Actor Dave Franco's directorial debut showed me more promise than I've ever seen in his big brother James Franco's many, many directorial outings. The younger Franco also co-wrote The Rental with mumblecore/indie horror mainstay Joe Swanberg (Netflix's Easy), and the movie is at its best when it feels like a really tense relationship drama with some creepy overtures for good measure. Two couples (Dan Stevens and Alison Brie, Sheila Vand and Jeremy Allen White) are renting a beautiful ocean-side cabin for the weekend. There's a palpable tension early on as Vand's character, a woman of Middle Eastern descent, challenges the homeowner why he chose to deny her bid over her white male co-worker. From there you quickly understand that she and Dan Steven's character have a dangerous sexual attraction to one another and, after a drug-fueled night, circle each other hungrily and inevitably. I felt nervous simply waiting for them to cheat, and when they do, it sets the rest of the movie in motion because the evidence of their infidelity is what provides such an intriguing dimension of personal stakes. They discover a hidden camera in the shower head but it also means they are reluctant to go to the police because what if that proof is subsequently revealed? This delicious turn causes one half of our couples to conspire together and keep secrets from their significant others, and The Rental has a crafty and effective unease to it as the characters get more frantic, paranoid, and confrontational. There's a solid hour of good material here with the relationship drama taking center stage in a creepy surveillance thriller setting. Franco also shows solid promise as a visual stylist. His ability to create an uncomfortable atmosphere of dread while maintaining pleasing, cleanly composed visuals is impressive. It reminded me at times of an Ari Aster A24 horror movie (Hereditary, Midsommar). Alas, it's the last fifteen minutes that do The Rental in as it succumbs into being a boring slasher movie with a boring, and vague, killer. It fits with the parameters of the story being told but it's the most boring and underwritten aspect, falling entirely on the mere iconography of slasher cinema to serve as external escalation. It's a bit of a disappointment of an ending after such a promising and personal start. I definitely think Dave Franco shows promise as a filmmaker and a genre director who doesn't sacrifice character for empty atmosphere, which is my most common complaint for much of atmospheric gonzo indie horror (see: Mandy, Neon Demon). At under 90 minutes, the movie doesn't wear out its welcome and has enough juicy tension and drama to warrant at least one viewing. Hopefully, Dave Franco steps behind the camera again and hopefully he will write a better ending too. Nate's Grade: B
    Nate Z Super Reviewer

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