Room for Rent is a tense thriller that feels unsettling throughout, Lin Shaye shines, though we never see the trigger pulled.
Room for Rent is directed by Tommy Stovall (Aaron’ Blood), starring horror icon Lin Shaye (Insidious), Oliver Rayon (In Transit) and Valeska Miller (First List), and is a thriller that sees a lonely widow looking for guests.
Room for Rent follows a recently widowed lady, Joyce (Shaye), who is in need of money and decides to use her spare room as a bed-n-breakfast. Joyce becomes friends with one of her first guests, Sarah (Miller), before she gets her first long-term guest in Bob (Rayon), a handsome, mysterious man who helps her with the local troublemakers. Joyce soon starts acting like she is involved in some sort of relationship with Bob, getting to the level of obsession, one that becomes dangerous.
Room for Rent uses the story of being lonely and needing to find something to do after losing a loved one that kept you company for years; we get to address a position many older people could find themselves in suddenly. The idea that Joyce decides to invite people into her home shows her moving in the right direction; this is the softer side of the story. The obsession side of the story does get slightly confusing because we hint heavily at trying to find a replacement man in her life, with nearly every scene seeing her dress to impress at an ever-increasing level. The problem with this comes from the fact we get another motivation thrown in which wouldn’t make sense with everything else we have seen. The story does however keep us on edge through the unfolding moments, which shows us just how far Joyce will go for her own new moment of happiness.
Room for Rent stars Lin Shaye, who gives us a performance that is head and shoulders above the rest of the cast. We wouldn’t expect anything less from the horror icon; she makes us feel unsettled by what she is doing through each scene, being creepy and overly friendly throughout. Oliver Rayon does make his character feel like he is mysterious while remaining patient with Joyce, which is how a guest could see a strange owner while trying to stay under the radar. Valeska Miller does everything needed for her character though we could have seen more of her in the film.
Room for Rent is a thriller that does keep us guessing what will happen next between the characters. Joyce keeps nearly every scene feeling unsettling throughout and you will be left just wanting to see if she does something over the boundaries or not. The setting within one home helps with the creepiness going on through the film too because it feels like Joyce could just pop up anywhere.
Overall Room for Rent is a thriller that will keep us guessing. Lin Shaye shines through the film as we see a darker side of grief.