ROOM FOR RENT (2019)
Lin Shaye is best known for the Insidious franchise, but she’s been appearing in genre films since the original Critters and A Nightmare On Elm Street, (both produced by her brother Robert) and oddities like Director’s Cut. Now with her most recent film, Room For Rent she adds producer to her own list of achievements.
Directed by Tommy Stovall from a script by Stuart Flack, Room For Rent casts Shaye as Joyce, an elderly woman who’s been widowed after her husband takes a fall off their roof. He’s taken care of things and now she finds herself on her own and nearly broke.
She decides to rent out rooms to make ends meet. She takes in Bob (Oliver Rayon) who seems to be a drifter, with a bit of mystery about him. Just like the men in the romance novels she’s obsessed with. And soon she’s obsessing about Bob in a sort of May-December Fatal Attraction way.
Room For Rent is billed as a thriller but it feels like one of the darker dramas that play on the Lifetime Network. There’s no real mystery as to who’s doing the killing and even if there was the poster would have given it away.
The one thing Room for Rent has going for it is Shaye’s performance. She does a good job of going from a sweet old lady to jealous and manipulative. And then homicidal as the layers of her character are revealed. She’s obviously having a great time playing the psycho senior citizen and it is infectious at times. But as good as she is, she can’t save the film. If the script had been a bit better and created a bit more uncertainty about what was going on then maybe she could have.
Slow-paced and obvious, Room For Rent will appeal to fans of the Lifetime Network and Shaye’s biggest fans. Most others will be bored, however.
Uncork’d Entertainment will release Room For Rent on May 3rd in select theatres and May 7th on digital.