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The Rental (2020) Review

I Wrote my First Movie Review While Giving Birth to a Camera. It has followed me ever since. Please don't mind the Mess.


MPAA Rating


Running Time

88 minutes


Dave Franco


Dave Franco and Joe Swanberg

Now that we’re not going to theaters, it’s nice to see some of you at the drive-in like it was 1956…or 1986.

Don’t worry _____ (your name here), I saw what you were trying to do and you’re not slick. I saw those people you were trying to sneak into the drive-in in the trunk of your car. I didn’t call security because it’s not really any of my business. I did think it odd that those people you sneaked in never get out of the trunk to watch the movie. Maybe they did and I just missed because I was enthralled by seeing a movie on the big screen after so many months.

Maybe he/she was waiting until the middle of the movie as to not arouse suspicion. The drive-in on Watt Road in (REDACTED) is called the Corpse Dump Drive-In and always plays a mixture of new and old releases, which brings a community together at a time when we’re spending so much time apart.

Nor did I. I did just check their website and it states if you bring two or more corpses to dump you get a discount on your ticket and a coupon for a free hot dog at the concession kiosk. I’d really enjoy a discounted ticket but I wouldn’t trust the hot dogs because…corpses.

*This introduction to the review sponsored by The Corpse Dump Drive-In on Watt Road. Come and dump a corpse then enjoy a movie!*

Such a weird episode of Community.


The Rental opens with some business partners doing some business and enjoying their partnership because they’re really good at doing their business together. What’s the business, you ask? It’s pretty vague and it doesn’t seem germane to the plot but we do know they’re doing well.

So much so that they’re taking a well-deserved vacation this weekend.

White people doing white things.

White people doing white things.

Who are they? Glad you asked. Let’s introduce them and hope they’re not dead by the end of the movie. Well, we hope some of them are dead or else we wouldn’t have much of a story. Since there are no black people we won’t know who will die first.

We meet…

  • Charlie (Dan Stevens, seen earlier this month in that Eurovision movie)- There’s not much to his character except he’s good at business, good at friendship and good at being a husband. When we meet Charlie he’s celebrating with…
  • Mina (Sheila Vand - A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night)- She and Dan are just business partners and nothing more. Sure, there’s a mild mutual attraction but that’s as far as it will go because Mina is currently dating…
  • Josh (Jeremy Allen White)- Josh just happens to be Charlie’s brother. He’s just gotten out of jail because he’s a f*ck-up and Mina is way out of his league. He trying to do better but it just looks like his character’s only purpose is to do stupid things the audience jeers at. He’s totally cool with Mina spending time with Charlie because he knows Charlie is happily married to…
  • Michelle (Alison Brie, director Dave Franco’s wife)- Michelle also has no qualms that Charlie and Mina spend so much time together. It’s fine. It’s totally fine. Why do you ask?
Things are looking down...

Things are looking down...

Charlie and Mina are looking online and find a great place to rent for the weekend. It’s got wide open spaces and there’s no one around for miles to hear screams…of joy.

The four drive up and rent the place. Because Josh’s job is to screw everything up with his foolish decisions, he decides to bring his dog Reggie (James Franco - The Disaster Artist) even though pets are explicitly not allowed. This ensures that Reggie will be dead by the end of the movie.

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They meet the kindly racist red herring, um, caretaker Taylor (Toby Huss- Halloween 2018). He doesn’t like that Mina isn’t white. But that’s not going to put a damper on their evening, because Josh brought drugs for everyone to share. How considerate.

Michelle will pass because she wants to go on a hike the next morning.

The rest of them partake.

Josh passes out.

Charlie and Mina are hanging out in the hot tub telling each other what great work partners they are and how that’s all they’re ever be and that’s totally fine and then they start to make out.

Charlie and Mina immediately regret what they’ve done especially with Michelle sleeping in the other room and Josh passed out in the other, other room. This was a mistake and let’s just forget this happened and never do it again and then they have sex in the shower.

Restraint. Good.

Later Mina notices something in the showerhead. It looks like a wireless camera.

Charlie checks the other showerhead. Another camera.

They can’t/won’t call the cops because it would expose their tryst in the shower.

This weekend has turned from bad to worse. But it’s about to get a whole lot worse…er.

Soon Charlie, Mina, Josh, and Michelle will find out their security deposit doesn’t cover bloodstains.

Now Josh is up and can’t find Reggie. He has only himself blame because that dog’s most likely dead. As Josh and Co will learn, sometimes you can’t buy a break.

Or rent one.

It took 4 hours to frame this shot.

It took 4 hours to frame this shot.

What Works With The Rental

  • A darkly comic scene involving a cliff and some rocks. It’s the only part of the movie that doesn’t feel retread from other movies of its kind.

What Doesn’t Work With The Rental

  • A laborious first act that introduces the characters but brings in no real tension or suspense. You’re waiting for something to happen instead of people walking around a house. 40 minutes later something does but it’s too little, too late.
  • (possible spoiler) There’s not much baddie presence despite some standard horror violence. The ending is partially lifted from 2018’s Hell Fest and gives you no reason to fear or even be concerned about the movie’s villain. Hell Fest was thoroughly mediocre. The Rental is slightly less mediocre.
It took 3 hours hiding behind that corner.

It took 3 hours hiding behind that corner.


Don’t bother with this rental because you can’t buy your time back.

Really 2.5


Buy The Rental Here! I know, that doesn't make sense.

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