Lot 24 The Rental (2023) Review
Some time ago I reviewed a film called Alien Domicile 2: Lot 24. The only connection it had to the original Alien Domicile was the distributor who decided to try and cash in on that film’s modest success. Recently writer/director Curtis Johnson reached out to ask if I would be interested in reviewing Lot 24 The Rental “the first film in our “true” Lot 24 Anthologies.” Of course, I said yes and while I wasn’t sure what I was going to get, I certainly wasn’t expecting this.
The film opens oddly with a man twitching in bed while watching cartoons and trying to choose between a red and a blue pill. He eventually takes one while we hear the animated characters argue over which of the pills is better.
Speaking of pills, Jen (Aby Smidt, Alien Domicile 2: Lot 24) is busy complaining she took the wrong pill. The disembodied voice she’s complaining to tells her it was her own fault. She’s still arguing with the voice when Tom (Trenell Blanks, The Tree Widow, Four Amigos) calls. Telling the voice to keep it down she tells Tom that yes, Lance, also played by Blanks, is staying at her rental but it’s just business. He says it better stay that way.
Alien Domicile 2: Lot 24 was, apart from the alien tree concept, a fairly straightforward tale of kids finding something evil in the woods. Lot 24 The Rental however is a whole different creature. This is an extremely strange film that seems to be making up for a lack of budget, IMDB estimates it at $100,000 my guess is closer to $100, with a lot of creativity and general weirdness.
Lance is no sooner in the house than he dons rubber gloves and takes sanitizing wipes to everything including the plants. Then he has a bizarre conversation with a deliveryman (Shane Franklin, #Autopilot, Alien Domicile 2: Lot 24) who ends up offering him two pills he pulls out of his pocket. “Dude, you expect me to take a pill from out your pocket…where they do that at?”.
As it turns out Jen is Lance’s therapist, which certainly got a “Get therapy from your ex? Where they do that at?” reaction from me and she urges him to take the pill. But since one of his issues is severe insomnia, to the point he’s hallucinating, we have to question how much of what we see in his scenes is real and what is his sleep-starved imagination. Is the scene where his boss threatens to fire him a flashback? Or a hallucination? And how much help is a therapist who talks to the voices in her head going to be anyway?
This all ends up tying into the cartoon I mentioned earlier in a way that further stretches the idea of just what we can believe and whose reality, if this is reality, we’re seeing things from. By the time it’s in its final act, it runs a fast seventy minutes, Lot 24 The Rental has become a major exercise in WTF and it’s near impossible to say what is and isn’t real.
Lot 24 The Rental is obviously going to mostly appeal to fans of DIY filmmaking who are used to a lack of effects and production values. Curtis has mitigated that somewhat by making a film designed around its budget rather than a film that involves things it can’t afford to show and frustrates the audience by keeping them off-screen., something I greatly appreciated.
In the end, and after the “Still Confused?” title card and coda, I enjoyed Lot 24 the Rental. It’s an amusing bit of mental abuse that kept me both interested and confused. I’m not sure what other stories are lined up for this anthology, but it’s off to a good start.
Lot 24 the Rental recently completed post-production and is looking for distribution. You can check the production company’s Facebook page for release announcements.