Room for Rent movie poster

Room for Rent

In theaters May 7, 2019


, ,

82 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , ,

I love Lin Shaye. I think everything she does is magic and she manages to elevate her movies from barely watchable straight to VOD fare, to enjoyable campy thrillers like Room For Rent.

Joyce (Lin Shaye) is a very recent widow who discovers that man she’d married lo those many years ago and frankly didn’t like very much, left her with nothing to live on. Always a housewife, she’s only good at keeping house, so she decides to open a bed and breakfast. She manages a few brief boarders, even connecting with Sarah (Valeska Miller) on a familial level she’d never experienced. Her one long term boarder, Wayne (Oliver Rayon), however, ignites in her a girlish passion, and Joyce goes through some very scary lengths to make sure he never leaves.

What’s fun and scary about Room for Rent is not the blood or the gore, it’s the dread and tension Shaye elicits from every scene. She looks sweet and kind, but from her previous projects, we know she’s capable of raw angry emotion. Joyce is frail and simple, but she’s also cunning on a base level seen in feral cats and stupid children. Her ways are both sneaky and direct, and when she crosses boundaries she’s able to sell it as an untested social faux-pas and it’s hard to be mad – until you see what she’s doing with Wayne’s toothbrush.

Room for Rent isn’t a supernatural scary, and it’s not even a serial killer scary. It’s the kind of scary we only read about in newspapers after the kindly elderly couple across the street has snapped and tried to kill each other. It’s the kind of scary brought on by years of abuse and internal stresses that manifests in really unhealthy ways.

Room for Rent is from Uncork’d Entertainment, and while I usually give them crap for releasing unwatchable nonsense, I really enjoyed this one – even if the end is a little loose. It’s a fun taut scary, and I think it’s definitely worth a watch.

Room for Rent is unrated direct to digital and DVD, but if I had to put a rating, I would give it a PG-13 for swears, smotherings, drug use, very tense situations, bludgeoning, and a potential rape scene that set my teeth on edge

Room for Rent is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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