Lin Shaye makes every movie great, especially when she plays the lead character, which is the case here. She’s unhinged. She was born to portray crazy women and it seems to amuse her. In Room for Rent, she’s effervescent, as always, and potentially dangerous. I could watch that woman lose her shit all day long! The other characters are bland compared to hers.
The reversal of gender roles turns a simple script into a rarity. As simple as this story is, it is refreshing and unprecedented, but it’s equally predictable. It’s an interesting take on the classic psychological thriller, especially when taking into account how small the cast is and considering that most of the action takes place in a modest house. Somehow, the creators make it work.
Room for Rent is well-paced, well-written, and enthralling. A lot of its appeal is attributable to Lin Shaye, who doesn’t mind playing the villain. She gives nuance to a character with none. She’s old and she makes us feel bad about it. She reminds us that we, too, will age. She’s sympathetic despite being a creep, something a man probably couldn’t pull off the same way.