Room for Rent (2016) Movie Review

I have never cared much for found footage films, at least not until recently when I reviewed Wekufe: Origin of Evil (2016). I’ve started to realize that found footage, if done right, can add a whole new level of connection to the characters, sometimes making you feel as if you genuinely know them. This can lead to more emotional investment when the proverbial shit hits the fan. Was that the case with Room for Rent?

Room for Rent is the latest film from writer/director Richard Tanner and stars Samuel Wise, Libby Blanton, Joseph Mcelwaney, Daniel Whitton, and Danielle Page, who all recently worked together in Once Upon a Nightmare (2016), as well as a cameo appearance by Erin Brown (AKA Misty Mundae). The film follows David Bagley as he buys and moves into a new home shortly after his parents’ death. He places an online ad for a roommate, including videos of him giving a guided tour of the house. The response he gets are people telling him they think his house is haunted, which he thinks is complete and utter bullshit. He decides to record himself trying to disprove them but the more he looks into it, the more it seems like it might be the case.

I honestly enjoyed Room for Rent much more than I ever expected to. You follow David throughout the course of the movie and he is a likable guy, despite the fact that he’s pretty broken. He’s devastated by the loss of his parents, which is only exacerbated by his sister abandoning him. He moves into this house to try to be an “adult” and reclaim his life when all this crazy shit starts to happen. Just when he thinks things couldn’t possibly get worse, his sister Sarah shows up. Now I’m not going to lie, when Sarah was introduced, I thought she was extremely annoying and I honestly wanted her to die a horrible death ASAP.

But that all changed when she stopped criticizing every aspect of his life, stopped acting completely self-absorbed and started to help David investigate the paranormal things that were going on. She honestly grew on me and it wasn’t long before I started to like and then love her character. This is a credit to the writing of Richard Tanner and the performance of Libby Blanton. All of the characters have a pretty solid amount of development, which makes them all the more sympathetic.

Erin Brown has a small part as a cop with a heavy southern accent and is a nice source of comic relief before things take a darker turn. The fates of a couple of characters are open to interpretation but the ending is at best bleak – a worst case scenario that’s horrifyingly sad. But if it wasn’t for the excellent writing and performances by the entire cast, the ending would have had no impact, much like how I felt with the ending of The Blair Witch Project (1999).

Chalk it up to the great writing and performances or my new found appreciation for found footage films, but I was absolutely enthralled while watching Room for Rent. If you like or can even tolerate found footage and enjoy film with great character development and an ending that hits like a ton of bricks, then I give Room for Rent my highest recommendation.

About Charlie Cargile

Indianapolis based Horror journalist. Lover of most things Horror (especially Indie), Pop Punk and the strange and unusual.

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