The Rental Review: good premises not maintained

The Rental Review: good premises not maintained

From today, March 10, The Rental, Dave Franco’s debut film, is available on Amazon Prime Video: here’s our review

ORIGINAL TITLE: The Rental. KIND: horror, thriller. NATION: United States. DIRECTOR: Dave Franco. CAST: Dan Stevens, Alison Brie, Sheila Vand, Jeremy Allen White, Toby Huss, Anthony Molinari. time: 88 minutes. DISTRIBUTION: Amazon Prime Video. EXIT: March 10, 2021

Think of when we could have traveled, before this hateful global pandemic hit our lives. We just had to turn on our PC, choose the destination to visit, easily book flights online, and then maybe rely on home sharing. Think about how tourism has changed, how cities have changed, after portals like Airbnb have taken that huge slice of the market in terms of tourist rental. Now housing, travel, food are all based on sharing with strangers. We trust each other, but who tells us everything will always be okay?

No, you did not end up in an essay dealing with the sharing economy. You are on the right page, and this is it our review of the horror / thriller The Rental, available from today March 10 2021 on the streaming platform Amazon Prime Video. The debut film of the actor Dave Franco (brother of the more famous James) puts on the screen the paranoia of trusting the stranger, as he himself states in the course of an interview:

The film is based on my paranoia about the practice of home sharing. Let’s understand, even during the film at the end I was in a rented house on Airbnb but the worm remains to me: we actually go to stay in the house of strangers based on a handful of reviews read online. The United States is a divided country, without trust, and if you think about it these situations hide a good deal of risk and danger.

The Rental could only take a thriller and vaguely horror turn in telling all this. We at have seen it and we offer you ours review. Enjoy the reading!

Plot and trailer | The Rental Review

Charlie (Dan Stevens) and Mina (Sheila Vand) are two partners at work who decide to spend a relaxing weekend in view of a very intense professional period. So they decide to rent a beautiful house overlooking the Pacific Ocean, together with Michelle (Alison Brie), wife of Charlie, and Josh (Jeremy Allen White), Mina’s boyfriend and Charlie’s younger brother.

The vacation of the two couples, however, begins on the wrong foot when they meet Taylor (Toby Huss), brother of the owner of the house. In fact, the man does not look favorably on Mina due to her Middle Eastern origins, and the atmosphere begins to heat up. Left alone, the boys will have to deal with secrets, lies and a disturbing discovery: someone is spying on them.

Between genre clichés and psychological investigations | The Rental Review

The Rental starts immediately with the most classic of the slasher gimmicks: four friends on vacation and one isolated house to spend the weekend. This time, however, the destination is not a creaking shack or a huge eerie building, but a splendid villa overlooking the ocean. There is therefore nothing to worry about: large bright spaces, large windows, even a Jacuzzi on the terrace and a telescope with which to observe the stars. Nothing can be as reassuring as a luxurious dream home. Dave Franco then introduces a classic topos of horror narrative, without however immediately insinuating suspicion in the characters and the viewer. Where is the horror then?

The Rental Review: good premises not maintained

The film actually takes quite a long time to delineate the elements that constitute the threat, and perhaps this is it the biggest flaw in a work that defines itself as a thriller / horror. On the one hand we have a threatening presence (or absence?) That observes the protagonists. On the other hand, we have difficult interpersonal dynamics that the home will finally be able to bring out into the open. History clarifies from the beginning where tensions lurk, where doubt creeps in, what are the secrets to keep hidden from the other. Between unspoken attractions, envy, troubled pasts and boringly bourgeois conditions, the protagonists will come face to face with their own inner demons, and they will be forced to face them once and for all.

A half horror | The Rental Review

The screenplay (written by Dave Franco together with his friend Joe Swanberg) outlines everything in a somewhat too didactic way – as indeed happens for the ploy of racism. In doing so, we choose to deepen the relations between the protagonists, so much so as to make them almost the main theme, but with the problem of leaving nothing to the unspoken, to the implied.

At the end of the day, the mechanisms of tension are not properly exploited. The story appears unbalanced, between a greater deepening of the relationships between the characters and a mystery that is almost relegated to a corner. Perhaps the film would have benefited from a longer playing time, which would have allowed a wider breath to the thriller / horror juncture of the story.

The Rental Review: good premises not maintained

The result is therefore a film that for three quarters of the time fails to emotionally involve the viewerexcept recovering in the last twenty minutes. In fact, it is when violence explodes and the accounts are “settled” that the film gives its best, leaving us to a final not at all consoling, and therefore much more successful than all the rest. The fact of not finding a glimmer of salvation and an explanation for what is happening raises a vision that seemed to end in the most banal of ways.


Dave Franco does his best in this first work, relying on an elegant but rather classic direction, and one well-knit team of actors. Perhaps a certain betrays him inexperience in managing tension, and a starting point that takes up mechanisms already seen without raising them from the chaos of previous horror productions. If you are passionate about the genre, you can check it out, but without expecting the movie of the year.

This was our review of The Rental. Not to miss the others reviews of movies and TV series, keep following us on this page!

Points in favor

  • Close-knit cast
  • A raw and hopeless ending

Points against

  • Little tension
  • Unbalanced script