The Rental is a 2020 American horror film produced and directed by Dave Franco, in his directorial debut. Franco co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Swanberg, based on a story by the pair and Mike Demski. It stars Dan Stevens, Alison Brie, Sheila Vand, Jeremy Allen White, and Toby Huss, and follows two couples who begin to suspect they are being watched in the house they rented. The film was released on video-on-demand and in select theaters in the United States on July 24, 2020, by IFC Films. It received generally positive reviews from critics, and became the second film to ever top VOD charts and the box office in the same weekend.
Plot: Charlie, his wife Michelle, Charlie’s brother Josh, and Josh’s girlfriend Mina decide to rent an oceanview house for a weekend getaway. After Mina’s application for the house is denied for no reason, Charlie submits one and is accepted. Upon arriving at the remote property, the group meets the property owner Taylor, whom Mina confronts for denying her application believing it was racially motivated. Taylor denies this and leaves, although he does return later that day to drop off a telescope for the group to use, which alarms Mina. The group settles in and it quickly becomes clear that someone is observing the unaware guests.
After Josh and Michelle go to bed, Mina and Charlie have sex in the shower. The next morning, a hungover Mina and Charlie agree they can never be intimate again, while Josh unintentionally makes Michelle paranoid over Charlie’s faithfulness after mentioning how Charlie cheated on a former girlfriend. While in the shower, Mina discovers a camera in the showerhead and alerts Charlie. Freaked out, Mina goes to call the police, but Charlie stops her as alerting the police would risk someone finding the footage of the pair having sex.
Michelle uses drugs and calls Taylor to fix the hot tub. Mina privately confronts Taylor about the hidden camera, which Taylor claims to be unaware of and moves to call the police himself. Mina tries to stop him, which Josh witnesses and assuming Taylor is attacking his girlfriend, beats Taylor unconscious. As the group argues over what to do, Mina tells everyone about the hidden camera in the shower. After the group leaves Taylor in the bathroom to discuss what to do next, a masked man sneaks inside and smothers Taylor to death. When the others return and realize Taylor is not breathing, they assume that Josh has accidentally killed him.
A frantic Michelle demands they call the police, but Charlie refuses to let his brother go to jail, suggesting that they stage Taylor falling off the nearby cliff into the ocean by accident. A despondent Michelle goes to bed while the others carry Taylor’s body to the cliff. When they drop the body it gets stuck on an outcrop, forcing Josh to go down and push it into the sea. While this is happening, Michelle is stalked in the house by the masked man who broadcasts the tape of Mina and Charlie having sex on the television. Devastated, Michelle drives away in the car only to run over a spike strip and crash into a tree.
Mina realizes that they need to find the camera transceiver to destroy the footage of Josh assaulting Taylor. She and Josh go searching for it while Charlie goes to help Michelle. He finds her dead body before being murdered by the masked man. Mina and Josh break into a locked room under the house, but only find old boxes of junk. The footage of Mina and Charlie in the shower is sent to Josh’s phone and he confronts her over it. Hearing someone enter the house, Josh goes downstairs believing it is Charlie. The masked man kills Josh and then hunts for Mina, who manages to sneak outside. He pursues outside where Mina, who is disoriented by the fog, accidentally falls off the cliff and into the ocean.