Nutshell Review: The Rental
PG Score: 6.5/10
The Rental was a decent directorial debut for Dave Franco. The premise is simple enough, following two couples on a weekend getaway to a luxurious vacation home. This gives him a lot of freedom to maneuver the plot in a variety of directions. It was quite gripping for the first two acts, serving primarily as a taut thriller, ripe with suspense. The build up was effective and really ratchets up the tension in a satisfying fashion. The cast was solid. Dan Stevens and Alison Brie were the standouts, while Jeremy Allen White and Sheila Vand both did a decent job.
The problems really arise in the final act, when all the stops are pulled out. Franco tries to do too much, too quickly. A lot does not add up, which leads to a very unfulfilling climax. I applaud the effort and boldness, but he should have utilized a bit more restraint here in his first flick and stuck with the formula that worked so well for 70% of the 88-minute runtime. It went downhill as soon the shift from thriller to horror began.
Ambiguity at the end of movies can be good, but not when the audience is completely left in the dark. The amount that is shrouded in mystery is substantial and that hurts the final product. Nevertheless, this is a valiant effort from Writer/Director Dave Franco on his first at-bat, and he clearly has some skill and good ideas kicking around upstairs. I am looking forward to seeing him hone his craft a bit more in his next project. As for The Rental, it is worth a visit, but not one I would rush to book.