Widow Joyce (Lin Shaye) was left high and dry with her ass in the air after her husband died and left her with nothing except the house they lived in…a house she gets the bright idea to turn into a bed and breakfast joint. This plan seems solid, but Joyce’s personality and quirks manage to piss off each and every guest of her establishment.
Enter Bob (Oliver Rayon) a mysterious drifter (do they ever come in any other flavors?), who Joyce quickly becomes absolutely obsessed with…like the psycho-stalker style of obsessed, which goes about as off the rails as you would imagine, especially when a comely ex-guest Joyce has befriended makes the scene…
Directed by Tommy Stovall from a screenplay by Stuart Flack, Room For Rent comes off like one of those thrillers you’d find on Lifetime…but is that a bad thing? Kind of. Devoid of mystery and suspense (we know who’s responsible for all of the menace right from the start), and a pace that could best be described as “plodding” there aren’t many thrills in this thriller. That leaves us with what amounts to a dramatic character study.
Here is where the film shines, as Shaye gives a terrific performance. Joyce can be sweet one moment and a completely manipulative psycho driven by jealousy the next and Shaye transitions between the two effortlessly…and looks like she is enjoying the role immensely. It should also be mentioned that the character can also win our sympathies as a scene where Joyce is harassed by thugs is hard to watch due to the terror heaped upon her demonstrates.
While not the best fright flick to come down the pike; Room For Rent is good for at least one viewing due to the strength of Shaye’s performance…just don’t expect many chills from this exercise in terror.