The Tenant Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by 101 Films
Directed by Chris Jaymes
Written by Nick Antosca
2012, 88 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 20th Jan 2014
David Arquette as Robert Mars
Kristen Dalton as Chloe Carpenter
Victor Browne as Michael Carpenter
Morissa O'Mara as Danielle Carpenter
Nothing to do with Roman Polanski - David Arquette is the tenant in question; outwardly smooth romance novelist Robert Mars, who rents the small cottage situated behind a bickering family’s home. It’s not long before suave turns to creepy, and Mars can soon be found menacing his neighbours and landlords, leering at the teenage kids and generally acting in a manner not befitting anyone who should expect to get his security deposit back any time soon.
‘David Arquette?’ You repeat, incredulously, ‘suave?’ Yes, suave. I’ve had my eye on Arquette for many years now, from his breakout role as Dewey in Scream to the underrated 3000 Miles to Graceland and Eight Legged Freaks. What can I say; I’ve a pretty sizeable man-crush on the chap. He was particularly great as Sweet Johnny in My Name is Earl, too.
Arquette gets to flex his talents as villain (no, the hick in The Tripper doesn’t count) in The Tenant, a fairly straightforward rejig of such psycho thrillers as Pacific Heights (a personal favourite) and Lakeview Terrace (less so). As the titular tenant, Arquette is by turns smooth and scary. He’ll never be as crazed as Michael Keaton or imposing as Samuel L. Jackson in full rant mode, but he does have a quietly threatening way about him, in addition to a mumbling, drawling charm that doesn’t make his turn as ladies’ man seem too out of the ordinary. He did get himself hitched to Courteney Cox once, after all.
The story never stops to re-invent the wheel, but it does hold enough minor surprises and twists that it merits giving The Tenant the time of day, at least. Arquette is well supported by the rest of the cast, none of whom are tough or competent enough that we should ever stop and think ‘wait… they’re being menaced by David Arquette? Yeah right!’
To be fair, Mars’s grand scheme hardly requires Freddy Krueger levels of wit, or Jason Voorhees style man power. His modus operandi is fittingly weird and niche, nicely tailored to the character and actor in a manner that surprisingly few are these days. However, no-one is served well by 101 Films’ predictable branding of the movie, which whacks yet another heavily photoshopped picture of a house on the DVD casing, covered with a ghastly red filter. Lost under a pile of almost identical releases, The Tenant could so easily be dismissed as yet another dull rape fest, which it doesn’t really deserve to be.
Entertaining, creepy and bolstered with a fine performance from an underrated lead, The Tenant is well worth a look over. I don’t know about a mortgage, but this one is worth a rental, at least.