The Rental is a pretty straightforward thriller in some ways. With its small budget and cast to go with its short run time, that shouldn’t come as much of a shock. Overall, I liked it and left it mostly satisfied with what was included even if there are a few things that probably could have been fixed in order to improve the film as a whole.
The film follows two couples on an oceanview getaway. While in search of peace and fun on this weekend trip, they almost immediately become suspicious of the host of their seemingly perfect rental house. Before long, their suspicions grow even more as they start to believe that he may be spying on them.
For a thriller that isn’t even 90 minutes, The Rental may have you believing that things will move fast and in a hurry right from the start. However, that turns out not to be the case as it opens up with a pace that can only be described as slow. Admittedly, this could feel like they’re slowing things down to increase the run time, but in reality, you’ll soon realize that this isn’t what’s happening.
What you’ll notice is that there is a lack of material, but as compensation, we spend a lot of time with the characters here getting to know who they are. The benefit of this is that these moments are primarily used to build up the characters and develop the relationships between them. In order to do that, most of the thrilling and suspenseful elements of the film are sacrificed and saved for later.
While this can be viewed in a negative manner for those of us who just want to jump right in, I actually didn’t mind the approach that was taken. Doing it this way allows us to learn about the characters and their personal connections with one another. There are also chances to plant seeds that will come back around later and be used to help create the thrills that we were looking for.
After all that needs to be set up is set up, we begin to move into the sections that contain most of the thrills that we came here to see. And once that happens, we begin to see everything coming together. At this point, you may start attempting to figure things out for yourself. On the surface, things are moving how you’d expect, but the chances of you being 100% correct in terms of where we end up being are nearly impossible.
If you’re wrong on more than one occasion, you’ll find yourself starting to wonder what’s going to happen next in The Rental. In that case, I suggest allowing the movie to take us where it wants to take us instead of trying to figure it out completely on your own. Why? Because there aren’t really any clues for us as viewers to pick up on that will lead us to definitive resolutions.
For a thriller, the positive factors that we get here are insanely important. And the ability to keep your attention and keep everything moving is what will allow you to maintain a certain level of interest in The Rental. The characters aren’t anything special nor are there a ton of innovative features, but the movie is able to keep you interested by not revealing too much too soon.
Then again, not revealing things leads to one of the problems that might be an issue for at least some viewers. What you’ll find is that by the film’s conclusion, there are questions that will remain unanswered. Some of the unanswered questions are fine, but there are a few that probably should have been revealed but weren’t.
This also leads to an issue with the characters. To the surprise of no one, you have to suspend your disbelief at certain points. That’s mostly because of the stupid decisions that are made by the characters. In some instances, you may ask yourself if someone would ever make some of these decisions that we see in this movie. And when you do ask, the answer will be no and you’ll realize that these choices are made just so the movie can happen.
That’s usually a big negative in my mind, but that’s not as true in this case for some reason. It’s probably because these moments don’t take up a lot of time. Plus, I was so focused on finding out what was going to happen next, that I was willing to push these issues aside. Others may not be able to look beyond these issues as much as I did while others may not care at all.
People who watch The Rental will most likely find enough value in it by the time it’s over. It’s not perfect, but it’s somewhat different and will likely hold your attention during its 88-minute run. Will it stand out over time? Probably not. But most will probably like it even if it doesn’t have the qualities to make it stick inside your head for too long.
Director: Dave Franco
Jeremy Allen White
Film Length: 88 minutes
Release Date: July 24, 2020
Distributor: IFC Films
- Score - 7/107/10