The great Lin Shaye continues her streak as a legend in the horror genre with this thriller from the director of the underrated indie Aaron’s Blood.
Joyce is suffering from the death of her husband. To make matters worse, she is responsible for her husband’s debt, which is nearly $4,000. Having no other choice, she decides to rent out the spare rooms of her home to help raise the funds, turning her home into a Bed and Breakfast. She meets couple Sarah and Edward, who are her first tenants. She makes conversation with Sarah, an aspiring author who is on vacation to get inspiration for her book. However, when Edward decides to get a new place, Sarah leaves but promises to keep in touch.
Things start to look up for Joyce when she meets Bob, a mysterious drifter, at the library. She rents her room out to him. She instantly falls for him and does what she can to make him happy. Bob even protects her from some local goons who spend their time constantly harassing her. Being an avid reader of romance novels, her obsession for Bob grows and soon, it becomes extremely dangerous. When Sarah returns to visit, she and Bob become to grow close. Joyce doesn’t want Bob to leave her, but what will happen when he does?
This thriller can be described as a terrifying 21st century version of films such as Fatal Attraction or even Single White Female that runs smoothly in its 81-minute running time. Tommy Stovall, who directed the underrated indie vampire drama Aaron’s Blood, brings his visual style of filmmaking, utilizing Stuart Flack’s screenplay to its fullest. And what helps the film is the excellent performance of its lead star, the legendary Lin Shaye.
Shaye, known for her iconic role of paranormal expert Elise Rainier in the Insidious film series, is excellent as Joyce, the lonely widow whose obsession with her tenant causes her to become both manipulative and outspoken. She starts out as a woman on the brink of losing everything. However, she slowly becomes more confident, but that confidence soon turns to obsession. In beats of the film, she is seen reading romance novels with her voiceover superimposed as she feels that she may have found the one to replace her dead husband. As her obsession grows, she goes through great lengths to ensure she keeps what she wants.
Mexican actor Oliver Rayón brings a sense of mystery in the role of Bob, the drifter who enters Joyce’s life and becomes the object of her obsession. While Joyce could be seen as a crazy person, Bob brings a sense of mystery that comes from some of his odd actions outside of the house. He can be seen in some situations that even question him but despite that, he seems like a normal person who just needed a change in his life. Valeska Miller makes the most of her role as Sarah, an aspiring author who becomes Joyce’s confidant but once she meets Bob, that’s when things start to go awry and thankfully, the story takes a twist that takes away a sense of predictability in the plot.
Room for Rent makes good use of its running time and has a few twists that take away its predictability. The visuals of director Tommy Stovall and the performance of veteran Lin Shaye make this one for fans of thrillers.
WFG RATING: B+
Uncork’d Entertainment presents a Pasidg Productions film. Director: Tommy Stovall. Producers: Marc S. Sterling and Tommy Stovall. Writer: Stuart Flack. Cinematography: Ziryab Ben Brahem. Editing: Tommy Stovall.
Cast: Lin Shaye, Oliver Rayón, Valeska Miller, Ryan Ochoa, Linda Cushma, Casey Nicholas Price, Tonya June Moore, Michael Harrelson, Jose Rosete, Justin Roberts, Trevor Stovall.