films seen
average score
Alive and kicking



2020 / 108m - USA
Drama, Horror
Rent-a-Pal poster

A rather strange specimen. Stevenson made a full-blood drama, but directed it as if he was making a core genre film. The result is something that is pretty hard to categorize. Despite deserving props for originality, I don't think Stevenson found quite the right balance to make this a truly successful film.

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David is 40, single and takes care of his dementing mother. He subscribes to a videotape service, hoping to find a companion. One day, he buys a videotape called Rent-a-Pal. The tape features a recording of Andy, a somewhat creepy dude who offers his friendship through a set of recorded answers and reactions.

Rent-a-Pal is a film that thrives on unease, but I don't think Stevenson took it quite far enough. David is a tragic case, but the drama and genre elements don't always go well together, the finale also doesn't do it any favors. The performances are fine, and the presentation is solid, but in the end I didn't quite care enough for David's plight, nor was the film uneasy enough to work as a fully-fledged genre flick. Stevenson surely a second chance though, as the film shows real potential.