01st Apr2019

‘Room For Rent’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Lin Shaye, Oliver Rayon, Valeska Miller, Ryan Ochoa | Written by Stuart Flack | Directed by Tommy Stovall


Sometimes it just takes one actor to be starring in a movie, and in particular, a horror movie, for me to give it a chance. This was the case with Room For Rent which has the brilliant Lin Shaye in the lead role.

Lin Shaye is best known by horror fans for her roles in the Insidious movies, including being the lead and focus of the fourth movie in the franchise – Insidious: The Last Key. Though personally I loved her performance in the under seen dark comedy horror Dead End. Now, as a bit of a genre legend, I will give anything a watch if I know she has a decent role. In Room For Rent she plays Joyce. A woman who has recently lost here husband and to earn some much needed money is using an Air BnB-like site to rent out one of her rooms. After befriending Sarah, who stayed for a short time with her boyfriend, she then gets a more long term lodger in Bob, who Joyce starts to be getting a little bit obsessed with.

Shaye is indeed perfect for the lead role of Joyce. At first she’s the lonely frail old lady, she then has moments where she comes across as pretty tough (at the same time as being frightened) and then leading to the obsessed and crazy woman we end up with. And Shaye is completely believable in each and every part of the movie. A lesser actress and the film just wouldn’t be as good, so it is perfect casting as far as I’m concerned. As Bob, Oliver Rayon is pretty good in what would be considered as the other lead role. He makes the character the most likeable even alongside a lonely old woman. While Valeska Miller, as Sarah, doesn’t get quite as much to sink her teeth into but still performs well.

The script is maybe a little bit predictable – it’s not the most original of movies – but the performances hold it all together and there were no moments when I felt bored. In fact Room for Rent runs along at a decent pace, with the moments of horror getting more frequent as the movie goes on.

My main problem with Room For Rent is that the story didn’t go into as much detail with the characters other than Joyce. We get very little information about Sarah, even though she is a big part of the story; her mentions are brief and her relationship with Joyce doesn’t seem as important as it should. And the similar could be said for Bob. He is in eighty percent of the movie but we don’t know enough about him; his past isn’t mentioned and apart from being a nice guy, there’s not much else to be said about him. I can completely understand why the movie concentrates on Joyce but it’s a little frustrating at times and in the long run, it simply would have been a more interesting movie with a bit more time spent on the script.

Lin Shaye puts in one of her best performances and is fantastic. Dragging Room For Rent almost single-handedly into becoming a decent horror thriller that is worth a watch.

*** 3/5

Room For Rent opens May 3rd in select US theaters and releases May 7th on digital, courtesy of Uncork’d Entertainment.


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