Movie Review: The Rental (2020)

Have you ever just wanted to get away for a weekend? Just sort of get out of the house and have some fun, recharging a bit. Yeah, maybe don’t. Or do, I’m not your mother.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Rental”.

The story here follows two couple (Dan Stevens/Alison Brie and Jeremy Allen White/Sheila Vand) as they rent a nice, big, fancy cottage for the weekend, as a way to unwind and celebrate a bit. But not long after they arrive they discover some sinister stuff going on around, which not only may threaten their lives… but also forces some dark secrets to come out. I like this setup, it takes elements of both a slasher and a domestic drama, which could make for a really interesting narrative… shame it doesn’t live up to that though. Because for most of it I wasn’t interested in what was going on. The story beats themselves are actually pretty interesting, but the way they were handled was just so dull. What’s even more egregious is that when the plot felt like it was picking up for its second act, it ended like four minutes later. So the ending feels very abrupt. And when you combine that with the overall execution of everything else being subpar, you get an overall poor narrative.

The characters in this, like the plot before them, have interesting setups… but in the end I don’t care. They don’t have much going for them in terms of personality, and I’d probably mix them all up if I wasn’t already familiar with some of the actors. I mean, you have Dan Stevens (who I love), you have Alison Brie (who’s good in things), you have Jeremy Allen White (who I’ve heard good things about), they all do fine, even though they got very little to work with. Sheila Vand does fine with her role. And Toby Huss who shows up briefly is alright too. It’s a good cast that does the best they can with very subpar material.

The score for the movie was composed by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans, and I think they did an okay job. It is dark and droning and very reminiscent of their other scores in those ways. So yeah, their score here is fine. Not their most original or well composed, but solid enough.

“The Rental” was co-written and directed by actor Dave Franco, and I think he did an average job. His directing here is fine, passable, serves its purpose in an average manner. This is a bit of an issue when it so clearly wants to be a creepy, suspenseful thriller, and at no point did I ever really feel uncomfortable or tensed up. I do commend his directing in that it has some snappiness to it, no shots feel like they drag or like they rush, I think that stuff is handled decently enough. But good shot composition and half-decent editing doesn’t really make me spooked, despite the movie clearly wanting me to be.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 75% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5.7/10.

Despite a solid setup and a good cast, “The Rental” is sadly a bit of a miss. It has a poor plot, uninteresting characters, good performances, okay music, and mediocre directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Rental” is a 4.60/10. So I’d recommend skipping it.

My review of “The Rental” is now completed.

That title is kind of ironic, because this movie isn’t really worth renting.

Series Review: Outcast – Season 2 (2017)

About a year ago I reviewed the first season of this show, and I thought it was really great. And now that season 2 is wrapped up I still wonder how this aired with little to no fanfare. At least when season 1 was airing, there was some hype around it… but no it’s almost like the show doesn’t exist. Oh well, let’s see how this second season is.

Ladies and gents… “Outcast” season 2.

We once again follow Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), the troubled young man with the ability to drive darkness out of a person, now having learned that his daughter (Madeleine McGraw) has inherited the same ability. And we follow them figuring this power out while also trying to stop a dark and probably evil event called The Merge. Throughout the season we get to learn more about the origins of Kyle and his abilities, while also giving us a bigger look into this world, including an in depth look into this cult that’s based in the forest. And while it’s interesting to see more of this world that’s been set up, I feel like the plot loses a bit of it’s focus. Season 1 had a very tight plot that had a consistent tension to it while still managing to be dramatic. Season 2, while containing an overall good plot filled with some good dramatic moments, doesn’t have that same focus. By showing the side stories of a lot of the supporting characters and by throwing in a whole bunch more lore it doesn’t feel as tight as season 1. So the plot here overall is good. Not great, but good.

The characters here are all pretty fleshed out and interesting. Patrick Fugit once again plays Kyle Barnes, the troubled young man also known as the Outcast (roll credits). After his “adventure” in season 1 he is a more determined and hardened man, not being as quiet and mopey as in season 1. And Patrick Fugit is great in the role. Philip Glenister once again plays reverend John Anderson, the priest who lost some of his faith after seeing all this dark and weird shit. And Glenister is relaly good in the role. Wrenn Schmidt once again plays Kyle’s adopted sister Megan, and after the horrible shit that happened to her in season 1, she is a bit more damaged than usual. It still haunts her in season 2 and it makes her quite an interesting character. And Schmidt is great in the role. Reg E. Cathey returned as Byron Giles, local police chief and friend of Kyle and Anderson. And Cahtey is great in the role. Brent Spiner once again plays Sidney, the msyterious man with mysterious (evil) intentions. And god damn, he is creepy… gets under my skin. So yeah, Spiner is great in the role. We also get to see more of Kate Lyn Sheil as Kyle’s wife, Allison, in this season, and she’s really good. We also get more of Charmin Lee who plays Rose, the wife of chief Giles, and she’s great in the role. We get introduced to Bob, a new ally and an old friend of Kyle’s dad. He’s played by M.C. Gainey and he’s great in the role. We also get Hoon Lee as a doctor who is important to the plot, but I’m not saying how because potential spoilers. So I’m just gonna say that he’s really good. Really, overall it’s a very well acted season of television.

The score for the show was once again composed by Atticus Ross, Leopold Ross, and Claudia Sarne. And once again it was great. It’s dark, eerie, suspenseful, and jsut overall helps create a very uneasy atmosphere for the show.

The show was, like I said in my review of season 1, created by Robert Kirkman, and it’s based on the comic books of the same name… which were also created by Kirkman (and Paul Azaceta). And the show was written and directed by a whole bunch of people (including Ti West, a decently well known guy). And in terms of overall craft this show is fantastic. The directing and cinematography is gorgeous, giving us plenty of “damn, that’s really good!” shots. And in terms of scariness this season… yeah, it’s not that scary. Season 1 was often bone chilling and actually managed to scare me a good amount. Season 2 on the other hand isn’t really that scary. That’s not to say that it’s not an eerie show, because it is. There’s a good amount of tension throughout the show which makes it a really interesting show. Also, there’s plenty of brutal gore and various other disgusting things on display here… and this is one of the few shows that has made me feel queasy because of it… so good job, “Outcast”.

It’s difficult to say how this season has been received because it barely even exists on review aggregator sites. Really, on Rotten Tomatoes there’s no trace of it. On Metacritic it exists but has no real score to it. And on imdb.com there’s no seasonal average, but the show in general has a score of 7,6/10.

“Outcast” season 2 is a little bit of a let down after the terrific season 1. That said, it’s still a really solid season of TV. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. The problems with it comes from the plot feeling a bit unfocused, and the scares not really being there. Time for my final score. *Boo*. My final score for “Outcast” season 2 is an 8,88/10. So even though it is flawed, I’d still say that you should watch it!

My review of “Outcast” season 2 is now completed.

I hope this gets renewed for a third season.