Dave Franco's Directorial Debut The Rental Praised in First Reviews: 'Brutally Effective' Horror

Dave Franco made his directorial debut with the thriller The Rental starring wife Alison Brie

Photo: David Buchan/REX/Shutterstock

Dave Franco is impressing critics with his directional debut!

The actor goes behind the camera for The Rental, a horror film starring his wife Alison Brie. The movie follows two couples on an oceanside getaway who grow suspicious that the host of their rental home might be spying on them. It also stars Dan Stevens, Sheila Vand, Jeremy Allen White and Toby Huss.

The movie will be available in select drive-ins, theaters and On Demand starting July 24, and critics are urging people to seek it out.

Keeping it simple, Leah Greenblatt from PEOPLE's sister site Entertainment Weekly said the film is a "neat, nasty little thriller with a brutally effective final third" in her review, giving it a B+.

"A small but satisfying slice of indie horror," agreed The Hollywood Reporter's Jon Frosch.

"A terrifically tangled little nerve rattler of a horror movie that takes a thoroughly modern idea and melds it to some sturdy, old-fashioned '80s slasher vibes," wrote Neil Pond from Parade Magazine.

Variety's Owen Gleiberman, meanwhile, praised Franco's directing.

"Most of it is skillful and engrossing enough to establish Franco as a director to watch," he wrote.

Dave Franco, Alison Brie
Franco and Brie at the drive-in premiere of The Rental. Amy Sussman/Getty Images

In a new interview for Moviemaker Magazine's Summer 2020 issue with Moonlight filmmaker Barry Jenkins, Franco said he couldn't have done the movie without his wife's support.

"We’ve acted together, and so we knew that we would get along well on a set, but we’ve obviously never worked together in this capacity," Franco told Jenkins in the cover story. "But what I will say is that I’ve always known that she’s an amazing actress."

Franco said Brie was indispensable on the set, not just as an actress but as a teammate, as well.

"There were moments throughout the shoot where I would really get into my own head and start to doubt myself in small ways," he admitted. "And so to be able to go home to her every night and have someone who would build me up and remind me that things were going well and that I was doing a good job—it was invaluable and I honestly don’t think I could have done this without her."

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