‘The Rental’ Review: The Simple, but Thrilling Indie Slasher

Dan Stevens, Sheila Vand, and Jeremy Allen White star in The Rental

The Rental

Starring: Dan Stevens, Alison Brie, Sheila Vand, Jeremy Allen White, Toby Huss

Direction by: Dave Franco

Written by: Dave Franco, Joe Swanberg, Mike Demski

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Letterboxd Score

A simple millennial folklore horror tale that will successfully impair the way you think about Airbnb. I remember immediately after watching the trailer for The Rental I groaned at how ridiculous it sounded—A bunch of well-to-do millennials rent an Airbnb on the oregon coast get terrorized by the host…yep. However, after having watched the movie I have changed that perspective.

Of course, when you scrape away the dreamy oregon coast landscapes and the beautiful actors, you get a very bare and unsatisfying plot. Which to me is incredible, that Franco was able to successfully turn out a generic Psycho inspired horror film, without muddling it down with unnecessary side plots (just enough of a side story to keep you engaged), terrible acting, and a cheesy villain. You do not see much of the villain, which was key in creating this haunting modern day slasher. You go back and forth, contemplating who is the real villain, as the the actual villain, haphazardly reveals the true character of our main characters. Once the truth is set free, you hardly have time to sympathize before things go downhill.

The Rental does a great job at shifting gears. Allowing for a slightly complex sub plot that feels almost like an indie drama you’d find at a film festival. All while maintaining its identity as a horror film. The Rental also addresses some of the modern day millennial horrors, such as racially profiling when Mina attempts to book the Airbnb but gets denied, presumably because of her Arabic last name.

All in all, The Rental shines when it needed to. Could there have been a bit more refining? Probably, but we should never let perfection get in the way of job well done. The simplicity of the cinematic experience was what allowed The Rental to hold its ground in the very competitive indie horror genre that’s been taken over by greats, such as Aster and Eggers. I can definitely see good things coming from this story, although it may just be a one and done, I would certainly welcome and entertain the idea of a sequel. Not the most perfect, but the most poignant slasher that will make question the next time you stay at an Airbnb.

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