Horror as a genre isn’t easy to deliver. And, yet, it has survived the cynical eye of generations together to establish itself as a potent category of the 21st century. Clearly, there must be something that’s going right. There is something compelling about seeing characters narrowly escaping an impending doom while looking consumed doing it. The film in question dabbles in both; the horror and the thriller genre, giving you the best of both the worlds.
‘Vacation Rental’ starts off by introducing us to a couple in their car en route a homestay they have rented out for their getaway. The conversations between them revealing of their history; the dialogues are so cleverly written that they give away just enough to make us feel attached to them and yet not be entirely aware of them. Matt Newton and Van Hansis who play Quinn and Elliot, share a crackling chemistry. The modern-day star-crossed lovers whose only misfortune isn’t the just past they hint at, but also the unforeseen future that awaits them in an unknown rental in the middle of nowhere.
It’s hard to invest in any film unless the characters’ arch is well defined, a pattern commonly observed in most horror films. However, in the case of ‘Vacation Rental’, the trio, the couple and their host (David: Joe Reegan) drop cues to their innate nature of being, but just enough to make you invested, but not bored. This makes the viewing interesting because there is always an element of predictability that is often challenged with the turn of events. There’s also an intentional off-beat tone to the film which is set early on to give a growing sense of thrill and horror as it progresses. Instead of just spookiness, the film actually manages to create an aura of absolute sinister hype around the host’s character that not only makes for a very interesting character but also an important twist to the plotline.
Director duo Douglas Keeve and Matt Newton cleverly juggle the horror and thrill components of the film to create a well-balanced piece of art. The climax is a smart twist to what could have otherwise been a predictable movie. The background score (Sloan Alexander) is a tension-building masterpiece that is eerily peppered throughout the film. The cinematography (Douglas Keeve) maintains a singular mood of fright and vulgar apprehension.
‘Vacation Rental’ explores and audaciously experiments with the genre and focuses on nailing the finer points of horror. The result is a 12:13 minutes long narrative that is a both shrewd and ingenious. Despite the minute flaws in the storytelling, it is an immensely enjoyable film and a sure shot crowd-puller.
Watch Vacation Rental Short Film Trailer