Macabre…ish Horror Review: Rent-A-Pal
Rent-A-Pal, 2020/ 1 hr 48 min
A lonely man, David (Brian Landis Folkins), who lives with and takes care of his mother, Lucille (Kathleen Brady), who suffers from dementia. He has a membership to a video dating service, Video Rendezvous and records his ‘pitch’ for potential women who may be interested in him. If anyone is interested, the service calls and lets him know. Then he has to pay to look at the videos of those who’s interested and who he might be interested in.
After a while with no successful dates, he notices a tape for a pal, so he buys it! He watches this tape over and over at home until he can respond to the prompts, like he’s talking to a real friend. A friend named Andy (Wil Wheaton). David starts to perk up and it seems to be having a positive impact on him.
After a while the isolation has taken it’s toll and he starts to lose it. Soon his vhs friend is asking questions he’s never asked before and talking about things he’s never talked about before. Interacting like never before and sometimes he’s very cruel and crude.
In the mean time, David gets a solid match with the dating service and he’s excited and sets up a date with Lisa (Amy Rutledge). But then something weird starts to happen, Andy, is jealous, making demands of his time and questioning his decision to date and she’s already coming between them.
The formerly meek and kind, David, is becoming scary and aggressive. And when his mother cuts up the rent-a-pal cassette tape after running out of scotch tape a buried resentment for his mother bubbles up in a rage and makes him dangerous.
When David replaces the tape, after terrifying the people at Video Rendezvous, Andy is now asking why David needs his mother at all, since they have each other. And for that matter, why does he need Lisa?
This is a psychological thriller and though most of it takes place in a basement. It was very well done. There is some blood and violent but the real horror of this is watching someone’s mental health disintegrate after years of loneliness. Btw I missed something that made this movie eerier but saw it the second time. You might need to watch this twice.