Slasher films of the ‘80s may have conditioned us to cheer for the villain but, look, there’s a line, okay? And The Rental, the feature directorial debut of actor Dave Franco, exists on the far side of it. It’s about an hour before the bodies start to hit the floor, and by that time you’ll be so eager for Franco’s insufferable characters to cop a hatchet to the head that every kill is as satisfying as the first bowel movement of the morning.
Franco’s film puts four successful, selfish 20-somethings in a holiday home for the weekend and, after far too long letting us to get to know and loathe them, has an unseen assailant pick them off one by one. In that way, it’s more giallo than ‘80s slasher—Freddie Krueger and company had personality or, failing that, iconography—think Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers. Here, although a few clues are dropped, the killer is anonymous, leaving us with only our lead characters to try to identify with. And frankly, if you do see something of yourself in this facile foursome, it might be time to take stock of your life.