April 29, 2019 Room for Rent (Movie Review)
Distribution company Uncork’d Entertainment has been in business for quite some time, distributing movies of all genres and styles throughout the years, but will the company be ready for the success that is to come from its newest release, Room for Rent? There is hope it will, but the second question is, why this film?
The answer is because Room for Rent is perfect in every aspect. So perfect, in fact, that it would behoove any filmmaker to take notes to every passing second of the film. A pretty bold opening statement, Writer/Director Tommy Stovall (Hate Crime 2005, Aaron’s Blood 2016) has hit the ultimate home run with his original take on the ‘Obsession’ genre, and has stepped over so many similar movies of yesteryear’s past with a long, slow stride. Interested yet? Read on…
With a limited theatrical release on May 3, 2019, and arriving to VOD on May 7th, Room For Rent centers around Joyce (Lin Shaye: Kingpin 1996, Insidious 2010) whose husband had passed away, leaving her with bills, bills, and more bills. As Joyce learns she is out of money, she slowly succumbs to sadness, and to the fact that she is now alone.
As time goes on, Joyce decides to rent out a room in her house to help make ends meet, succeeding in meeting some wonderful people along the way: Sarah (Valeska Miller: Electric Love 2018, First List series), for one, who becomes great friends with Joyce, and with whom Joyce keeps in touch when Sarah ventures elsewhere; and Bob (Oliver Rayón: Reality Terror Night 2013, In Transit 2018), an overly charming, super mysterious person who rents the room soon after Sarah had moved out. As Joyce and Bob share the house together, Joyce begins behaving in a peculiar manner, paving the way for one of the greatest movie experiences in the history of Cinema.
Room For Rent is paced like a lightening fast spark, where each scene lasts a minute, but will seem an hour, because within this short time interval between cuts, the audience is flooded with a ton of different emotions, and is introduced to each character with enough screen-time to fully take in how these characters are in real-movie-life. It is a sight to behold; and with the short, 80-minute running time, all of this characterization would seem an impossible feat, but as a director, Stovall will prove otherwise.
Lin Shaye is an absolute stunner, looking as beautiful now as she did in her earlier years. That in mind, it is her demeanor and line-deliveries which should give any Oscar Best Actor nominee a run for his or her money. Her Joyce can tug at the heartstrings when she is depressed, but drive up the heart-rate to a thousand BPMs when she is in her overly-obsessive phase. She even has one of the greatest disses heard on film since Clive Owen’s delivery to Julia Roberts in 2002’s Closer. Shaye’s tour-de-force performance is one never to be forgotten, and a career topper, at that.
All this said, Room For Rent may center around Joyce, but the people she meets are all likable, and quite enjoyable. Sarah is a delightful human being who not only helps Joyce recover from the wallowing depths of sadness, but she is also a writer, looking to finally finish her book. Valeska Miller’s acting chops are incredible, appearing as if she had no idea she were being filmed, and that she and Shaye are the best of friends in real life. Some of their conversations are touching, and uplifting.
As for Oliver Rayón, never has a “bad boy” character appeared on the big screen that does not allow itself to follow into the same old boring, typical clichédom of bad-boys. Instead, Rayón breathes life into his Bob character, showing sides of gentleness, kindness, and just enough brawn to thwart away any one person who might want to harm Joyce. Rayón is a fantastic actor, and adds to the fire that Shaye, and Miller, have already started. All of this great acting will make the viewer wish the film would never end.
Not only is Room For Rent filled with great acting, and superb characters, but the dialogue is snappy, smart, and, at times, laugh-inducing. This film is also filled with some amazing camerawork, some of which may have been used upon drones in near-perfect fashion. The lighting and set-design make for quite a comfy looking home, but will leave mouths agape wondering how any person holding a camera was able to fit in such small areas of the house.
The more Room For Rent unravels, the more and more the viewer will be pulled into Tommy Stovall’s world, which just happens to be filmed in beautiful Sedona, Arizona—where the sunlight seems inviting, where every house is as gorgeous as the next, and where neighborhoods are as quiet as a church mouse. In enough words, Room For Rent is the Obsession Thriller which every movie fan has been patiently waiting, and that is why Cryptic Rock gives it 5 out 5 stars.