Review: The Tenant DVD

The Tenant DVD boxSTUDIO: Indican | DIRECTOR: Ric La Monte | CAST: Randy Molnar, Georgia Chris, Michael Berryman, Sylvia Boykin, Bill Cobbs
8/16/2011 | PRICE: DVD $24.99, Blu-ray $29.99
BONUSES: featurette, deleted scenes, gag reel
SPECS: NR | 95 min. | Horror thriller | widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/Dolby Digital 5.1

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The Tenant movie scene

Michael Berryman takes residence in The Tenant.

The Tenant is an earnest if unexceptional genre entry that’s true to the template established by so many films low-budget horror movies before it.

Featuring a madly misguided scientist (Randy Molnar), his pregnant wife (Georgia Chris), a scheming nurse (Sylvia Boykin), a deformed killer and a carload of good-looking young people stranded in front of an abandoned asylum, The Tenant is not a movie with a lot of surprises — not even an appearance by the always-welcome horror icon Michael Berryman of The Hills Have Eyes fame.

The story unfolds in the aforementioned asylum, both in its current decaying condition and when it was active three decades earlier. That’s where the mutant stalker dwells (he has a history with the place, as we learn in an extended flashback) and where he takes down the encroachers one by one until his secret past is revealed.

The first third of the film is the flashback and it’s the strongest part, well-paced, generally well-acted (with an appearance by Get Low‘s Bill Cobbs) and shot effectively. Here is where cinematographer Jose Zambrano Cassella (The Whisper Home) serves up some garishly colorful sequences, which unfortunately give way to a grayer and more predictable final hour.

The graphic brain surgery, splattery birth scenes and graphic slayings should satisfy undemanding gorehounds but, again, they’re part of an equally undemanding story.

Writer-director Ric La Monte (Night Terror) speaks enthusiastically about the production in a supplemental making-of featurette, chatting at length about the ins and outs of wrangling his cast and crew through a very quick production schedule. He comes off as a very confident filmmaker.

The disc’s special features menu — quite a robust one for such a low budget production—also offers a gag reel where everyone looks like their having a good time (particularly with the gore props) and three deleted scenes. Look out for the deleted scene featuring sexy sportscaster Jenn Sterger as an asylum inmate getting into a brief catfight with a fellow patient. The scene is a full minute longer than the blink-and-you-miss-it bit she had in the film proper.


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.