Shaye is the sister of New Line Cinema founder Robert Shaye, and she has chalked up close to 200 films throughout her incredible 40 year career. She has given us hilarious characters in the Farrelly Brothers' comedies There's Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber, and Kingpin and had appeared in iconic horror films like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Critters and The Hidden... not to mention her leading role in the Insidious series.
Her performance in ROOM FOR RENT (she also serves as producer) is no less committed than her mainstream outings and she chalks up another quirky character, elevating this otherwise lacklustre and uninspired “chiller” above the insipid VOD depths from there is belongs.
I am guessing that the film is set in New Mexico, although I can't be sure. To be honest I never cottoned-on to its location and I base my assumption on its environmental likeness to the TV series Breaking Bad. The production design leaves a lot to be desired as it presents a bland and minimal setting. The locations (both interior and exterior) have been given very little sprucing, and the cinematography is elementary in comparison to other similarly themed films. Suffice to say there is little technical or aesthetic pleasure to be taken from the movie and the burden of it rests squarely on Shaye's shoulders.
Joyce loves the young men and she wields a mean frying pan. She digs a deep hole and knows how to dispose of a body. She's the lovely old lady with a deadly mean streak, and you don't want to the victim of her obsession. Shaye relishes the opportunity to have some devilish fun and she's a ball of energy on screen. Unfortunately she's working with an awful script and poor direction, which nudges her performance in to the burlesque. This is rather unfortunate because had she the support of a stronger production (all round) her role would have come across far more effectively.
The film might have also earned itself a little more credibility had it punched out a stronger final act. Instead the movie closes on a soft note, which is intended to be whimsical, and it fades to black leaving the viewer underwhelmed and disappointed (or at least this tolerant viewer). ROOM FOR RENT is for Lin Shaye fans alone, and offers nothing to astute genre fans. It's always a pleasure watching her on screen, and this quirky senior psychopath outing is all that leaves the movie tolerable.
ROOM FOR RENT IS AVAILABLE ON VOD VIA UNCORK'D ENTERTAINMENT ON MAY 7, '19