Movie Review: The Rental (2020)
Synopsis: To celebrate their success, business partners Charlie and Mina decide to rent a remote coastal house for the weekend and have a romantic couple's getaway with Charlie's wife, Michelle, and Mina's boyfriend/Charlie's brother, Josh. After some tension between Mina and the seemingly racist caretaker, Taylor, the couples finally have a good time. However, an ecstasy-fueled bender results in Charlie and Mina having sex in the shower while their partners sleep and, the next morning, Mina discovers their infidelity was caught on one of the video cameras that are hidden throughout the house. Things begin to spiral downward from there.
Review: My wife and I had time to watch a movie last night and, since I knew she was tired from work (she's a teacher assistant and they had a field trip that day), I picked this one out mostly because it was relatively short. Unfortunately, other than the reasonable runtime, there wasn't a whole lot else that was likable about this film.
The premise itself isn't a terrible one. My wife and I saw the whole Charlie (Steven) and Mina (Vand) affair thing from a mile away and even thought they were already hooking up when they were first introduced. The idea of their affair being caught on camera by someone with unknown motives could have been interesting as that and the violence that escalated from it put a strain on the four of them.
The movie unfortunately has a few things working against it. For one, none of the characters in this movie weren't interesting nor likable. Mina, for example, seemed to overreact to every little slight as being racist. Michelle (Brie) gets upset with her husband for stupid (and confusing) reasons long before she finds out about the cheating and Charlie and Josh (White) just seem like a pair of asses. As a result, the one guy who is supposed to be a racist villain doesn't really seem all that awful in comparison. Their actions after Josh beats Taylor to a pulp just makes them even more unlikable, partly because they were so inept it was almost comical.
The pacing in this movie left a lot to be desired as well. It took forever for anything to happen and spent most of the runtime exploring the two couple's relationships. As I mentioned, they weren't exactly people the movie should have spent a great deal of time on because, by the time anything did happen, I just wanted to see them get killed.
Another thing that hurts this film is I think the filmmakers tried to do too much. The movie could have been watchable, albeit probably still not very good, had it focused primarily on the hidden cameras and the couples trying to figure out what to do when that escalated to violence (with a lot better pacing). Instead, the writers threw in a completely different character, a masked killer, who starts hunting them down out of the blue without any explanation about who he is or why he's trying to kill them. That part of the movie had zero impact for me because it just didn't make any sense and the film makes no effort to explain anything at the end.
Final Opinion: There is a lot wrong with this movie but the biggest is the filmmakers should have picked a lane and either focused solely on the four worst renters in history or been a straight-up slasher movie from the beginning. Trying to do both just doesn't work and this film is an uninteresting mess as a result.
My Grade: F