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The Franco brothers (James, Tom and Dave) continue to impress with their prodigious capabilities; conquering a myriad of disciplines: acting, painting, art collectors, screenwriters, producers, directors; intelligence informs their ambitions and they are unafraid of unchartered frontiers.

Dave Franco’s directorial debut, “The Rental”, had promise, commencing with brothers “Charlie” (Dan Stevens, “The Guest”) and “Josh” (Jeremy Allen White), renting with “Michelle” (Allison Brie, real life wife of Dave Franco) Charlie’s wife, and “Mina” (Sheila Vand), Josh’s girlfriend, a palatial home on the Oregon coast; greeted by a creepy, misogynistic caretaker, “Taylor” (fabulous, ghoulish performance by Toby Huss); tension builds as the couples flirt with redefining their relationships; drugs, a catalyst for dynamiting the norm. 

Skipping the supernatural, “The Rental” has a presence, spying on all the protagonists; aware that they have been compromised, fearlessly, naively believing in their ability to salvage the situation, the film slips from intriguing into a haunted, brutal mess; directionless, unconvincing conclusion leaves viewers frustrated and disturbingly unsatisfied. Franco missed the keenest of horror titillations; audiences conclusively, are compellingly invested in the perpetrator, understanding the fiend’s mission and recognizing their malevolent march toward malignancy, is a key component and totally absent in “The Rental”.

Flawless acting could not save a flawed scenario.



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