Room for Rent (2019 film)

Room for Rent is a 2019 mystery-horror film written by Stuart Flack, directed by Tommy Stovall and starring Lin Shaye. The movie was produced by Pasidg Productions Inc. and distributed by Uncork'd Entertainment. Room for Rent was released on February 23, 2019, at the Sedona International Film Festival in Sedona, Arizona. The film concerns an aging widow who rents a room in her house in order to make some money. Things take a deadly turn when she becomes strangely obsessed with one of her new tenants.

Room for Rent
Room for Rent (2019) Film Poster.jpg
Directed byTommy Stovall
Produced byMarc S. Sterling
Tommy Stovall
Written byStuart Flack
Music byJoseph Bishara
CinematographyBen Brahem Ziryab
Pasidg Productions Inc.
Distributed byUncork'd Entertainment
Release date
Running time
81 minutes
CountryUnited States


Joyce Smith (Shay), an elderly housewife in Sedona, Arizona, has lost her husband from what first appears to be a slip and fall accident while fixing the roof. Her probate attorney finds that he owed a substantial amount of money on a loan, and apart from $2,200 in savings, he left no other assets in his name.

While checking out a romance novel in the library, Joyce notices a periodical that teaches homeowners how to turn their properties into a bnb (the post-modern acronym for "bed and breakfast", a term she's more familiar with). Ecstatic with this idea - since this would also afford her company - Joyce works in a few makeovers and invites 30-somethings Sarah and Edward as lodgers. Although she bonds with Sarah, her nosy and cozy demeanor is not welcomed by the controlling and fussy Edward, and the young couple promptly leave.

Soon after, Robert (Rayon) moves into the same room, and while Joyce's rapport with him is warmer than the previous guests, her domineering nature makes him cautious. Sarah returns after breaking up with Edward and begins to grow intimate with Robert, which Joyce passive aggressively objects to by spilling orange juice all over the breakfast table. An ailing neighbor reveals to Sarah that she fell out with Joyce a long time ago due to her scary abandonment issues and split-thinking. After Sarah leaves, Joyce pays a visit to the estranged neighbor, only to suffocate her with a pillow.

Although still concerned by Joyce's behavior, Robert continues to accept the hospitality and agrees to accompany her for a home-cooked meal. She spikes his digestif with a prescription hypnotic, sexually assaults him while unconscious, and rummages through his personal belongings. Contents in a storage chest suggest that he's a drug trafficker due to carefully wrapped packages of cocaine and wrapped $100 bills. Robert awakens, begins to piece together Joyce's weirdness and inconsistencies and tries to move out, but she bludgeons him with a frying pan and buries his remains in the backyard.

Joyce reconciles with Sarah, and also makes it seem like she's still in good terms with Robert by writing certified letters in his name. Joyce goes on vacation and lets Sarah keep after the house, but notices that Robert is nowhere to be found and his room door is locked. Unbeknownst to Sarah, Joyce set up a shrine in the room which makes it seem like they're a family: mother, son, daughter-in-law and grandchild.


  • Lin Shaye as Joyce
  • Oliver Rayon as Robert
  • Valeska Miller as Sarah
  • Ryan Ochoa as Wayne
  • Linda Cushma as Gladys
  • Casey Nicholas Price as Edward
  • Tonya June Moore as Sheila



On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, Room for Rent has an approval rating of 82% based on 11 reviews.[1] Frank Scheck from the American magazine The Hollywood Reporter called it "essential viewing for Lin Shaye fans" and wrote: "The supporting characters are not nearly as well-developed or interesting, feeling more like plot devices and reducing the film's overall impact. And director Stovall (Aaron's Blood), although certainly competent, doesn't infuse the proceedings with the sort of cinematic stylishness that would have elevated Room for Rent above B-movie status. Nonetheless, it's essential viewing for Lin Shaye fans, and that's more than enough."[2] Maria Lattila writing for the "Film Inquiry" told about the film: "Room For Rent is a lovely little thriller gem, a real diamond in the rough. It's not a class A film or cinema at it's purest, but it explores some fascinating themes and one of Lin Shaye's best performances.[3] Alex Saveliev from the online publication Film Threat gave the movie 7 out of 10 stars and stated: "Tommy Stoval's unpretentious descent into madness has a mercifully short running time. Fun and chilling, this bed-and-breakfast gets an extra star for its committed hostess.[4]


  1. ^ "Room for Rent". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  2. ^ Scheck, Frank. "'Room for Rent': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  3. ^ Lattila, Maria. "ROOM FOR RENT: Lin Shaye's Performance Keeps This Dud Alive". Film Inquiry. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  4. ^ Saveliev, Alex. "Room for Rent". Film Threat. Retrieved 19 June 2019.

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