An excerpt from Reals’ script review for The Rental (2020) which will be available 09/27/20:
What Needed Work
For example, on Page 2, we are treated to this line in the description section:
Josh is Charlie’s little brother.
That’s lazy writing, and your audience is going to have to figure that out through dialogue, acting, and other clues, since they don’t have the script in front of them.
Also, right after:
Josh is sick of jokes about his “temporary” job driving Uber…
Don’t tell us. SHOW US! This is Screenwriting 101 and this script commits this same sin several times.
Finally, on Page 7 –
They both kind of want a family in a nonpressing way. Maybe in 2 or 3 years.
Like Captain America, I can do this all day, so I’ll stop pointing out all the times the writers TELL and don’t SHOW.
These go nowhere, and really just pad the page count / runtime of the film. There are some interesting things that are built up, like Josh’s prior convictions, Taylor being racist, Charlie’s past relationships, etc.
Yet these all never really pay off in any meaningful way, which is disappointing to say the least.
The Camera Conflict
So, these two “smart” characters (Charlie – Dan Stevens and Mina / Meena – Sheila Vand) discover, after they have slept together, that there is a camera in the shower. The same shower where they had sex!
More than likely, that camera likely caught their affair… and everyone who took a shower in the cabin, but most importantly, it caught them having sex from a bad angle!
What should our characters do now?
- Go immediately to the police?
- It’s not like the police know them, care about their affair, or are going to tell their spouses. I mean, the cops certainly aren’t going to post the video on Youtube or anything like that, so what are they worried about?
Do they really think that they are the only ones who had sex in that shower? If so, I have bad news for them, and for you dear reader, because if you rent an Air BnB or stay in a hotel, you can be sure that anything you see or touch, someone else has had sex in it, on it, with it (ew), and near it. Fact.
- Confess to their partners, and then get out of the house?
- It would be hard, but it is the right thing to do, and honesty is the best policy. Plus, you would be rid of the murder-cabin once-and-for-all.
- Lie, cover up the fact that some creep is watching you and your partners in your rented cabin, and end up getting everyone killed?
- Continue to lie, pretend everything is OK, and hope that your stay in the cabin ends before whoever was watching you decides to drop by and cut you into tiny bits.
Can you guess which one our characters end up doing?
Yeah, instead of calling the police, grabbing everyone and getting the heck out of there, or anything resembling a rational response, the characters screw around for a while and everything goes downhill.
Add to that, these two are supposed to be our SMART characters, and they don’t act like it at all.
This bothers me because you have to be consistent with your characters, no matter the situation. You can’t have super-genius Sherlock Holmes forget how to tie his shoes, just because it is convenient to the plot, which is what the writers are guilty of here.
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