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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Review: Room For Rent

Director: Tommy Stovall
Screenplay: Stuart Flack
Year: 2019

Synopsis: Joyce widows recently and after being left out without much money, she decides to rent one of the rooms in her house. Joyce ends up developing a dangerous obsession with one of her tenants.

The name of Lin Shaye every time becomes more synonymous with horror movies. While her acting career is more diverse, the amount of horror movies she has been on is impressive. We have seen Lin in successful movies such as the “Insidious” saga, as well as in B series movies, as in the recent “The Final Wish”. While in “The Final Wish” I commented about how I did not like her interpretation, in “Room for Rent” I have to applaud her.

“Room for Rent” is a thriller movie that develops its plot in a slow burn and focuses on the development of the principal character Joyce. Majestically interpreted by Shaye, Joyce carries the weight of the plot, as she is who is on screen most of the time and is her responsibility that the viewer gets into the plot and that it is interested in what happens to this character. While the story is developed more like a drama with some thriller elements, Shaye manages to carry the weight of it with ease, and that the viewer cares for her and her situation.

Once she widowed, Joyce starts to feel alone and vulnerable. Accompanied by a shortage of money, she decides to rent one of the rooms in her house to solve her problems. It is at this time that we get to see what Joyce is capable of doing to make people feel sympathy for her. Between false stories about her life and a bottomless bag of lies, Joyce manipulates everyone she can to keep them by her side, reaching a point I which you even doubt if her husband’s death was accidental. The topics of loneliness and vulnerability, while important in the plot, I feel like they were not used to their full potential.

As what happens with the death of her husband, several traits in Joyce’s behavior and the infinity of lies she tells causes suspicion to be generated towards her and some things to be left for the viewer's interpretation. While this can be criticized as a flaw in the script, to me it was a good touch to put more mystery around this character. Similarly, we see how her derailed mind seeks at any cost to make a reality the situations she reads in her romance novels, enhancing the perception of her deteriorating mental state.

Alongside Shaye, the secondary character of Sarah and Bob are also well interpreted by Valeska Miller (“First List”) and Oliver Rayón (“In Transit”), respectively. There is good chemistry between the three of them, necessary for all the arguments brought in the plot. While the acting and the screenplay by Stuart Flack creates an entertaining story, other technical aspects affect the experience. The movie, in general, does not have the best photographic aesthetic and the editing in several parts look sloppy and gives an amateur air to it.

Even when “Room for Rent” will not be one of the most successful thrillers of the year, from my perspective it is an entertaining movie. I must advise that this movie is developed slowly and can be hard to keep up with for those looking for something more active. The ending also suffers from lack of power, but nothing to deviate it from the general tone of the movie. The acting by Shaye is enough to overcome any problems with the fluidity of the script and is a good exercise to explore what some advanced age folks suffer when they see themselves alone and vulnerable in the world.

Room for Rent will be released in selected theaters on May 3rd and on digital platforms on May 7th.




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