Dave Franco has long since stepped out of his older brother’s shadow, although you can’t deny that those Franco boys both have a multitude of talents. Following in the multi-hyphenated footsteps of his sibling, who at various points has acted, directed, written screenplays, authored poetry, released albums and taught acting classes, Dave recently delivered his first feature as a filmmaker.
The 35 year-old developed the story, produced, co-wrote, directed and might have even had a secret cameo in The Rental, with influential independent filmmaker Joe Swanberg also playing a key role in the creative process. The plot follows two couples who escape to the coast for a weekend getaway, where they become suspicious that the host of their rented accommodation might be spying on them, before they discover the real dangers come from within.
It would be a disservice to label The Rental as a straightforward horror, though, when Franco also incorporates elements of the relationship drama and psychological thriller into the mix, in an admirable attempt to spin several plates at once in his feature debut. There’s literally no need for the story to introduce a rampaging homicidal maniac in the third act, either, but it definitely works, which is an impressive accomplishment.
It also helps that the quartet of leads all deliver solid performances, with Franco’s wife Alison Brie in particular providing another standout turn, and she presumably didn’t ask for her usual fee to sign on. Dan Stevens, Sheila Vand and Jeremy Allen White, meanwhile, all do great work of their own, and now that Hulu subscribers have the chance to check it out, The Rental has rocketed up the viewership chart and is currently the seventh most popular title on the platform.