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'The Tenant' DVD Review

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating


The Tenant
© Indican

The Bottom Line

The gory scenes of the second half almost make up for the slow first half and the unlikable characters.


  • Gory deaths
  • Solid makeup effects
  • Good character design


  • Annoying characters
  • Uneven pacing
  • Mediocre acting


  • Starring J. LaRose, Aerica D'Amaro, Bill Cobbs, Michael Berryman, Jenn Sterger, Randy Molnar, Sylvia Boykin
  • Directed by Ric La Monte
  • Rated R
  • DVD Release Date: August 16, 2011

Guide Review - 'The Tenant' DVD Review

While working as head of the Edgewood Asylum (which apparently has only about three employees), Doctor Walter Newman busies himself secretly conducting genetic experiments on his patients and on the occasional spare head he buys from the morgue. He hopes to cure genetic defects like the one that cost him the use of his leg for much of his life, but his pregnant wife wants him to focus on his family. His jealous and overly dedicated nurse, however, sabotages things by injecting his wife with the spinal fluid he collected from one of the patients. Through the magic of movie science, twins are born -- one normal girl and one mutant boy.

Fast-forward 25 years. The asylum is closed, the doc and his wife are dead and a young woman named Liz Holliman is chaperoning a group of kids from the Roslyn Center for the Deaf when their van breaks down in the pouring rain. The driver, a crotchety ex-con named Jeff, leads them to the abandoned asylum for shelter, but little do they know that the deformed boy never left, and he's now a homicidal grown-up who fiercely defends his turf.

The Tenant is sort of like Hatchet 2.5, with a hulking deformed killer dispatching intruders in an over-the-top, Jason Vorhees-ish manner. Unlike the Hatchet, however, The Tenant lacks any sense of fun or any likable characters. The pacing is awful, with a prologue that should take 15 minutes dragging on for a staggering 40. We thus don't get to the crux of the film -- the kills -- until more than halfway through.

Luckily for us, the kills are well done -- gory, graphic and with impressive old-school makeup effects -- and basically save an otherwise forgettable flick. Still, because the back story takes so long, the second half of the movie feels rushed. There's little plot other than an ultra-obvious twist, the dialogue consists of little more than people yelling at each other, the "hero" is a jerk who refers to the deaf kids as "dumb" and the set seems to consist of the same two plywood hallways filmed over and over.

The most recognizable faces -- veteran actors Bill Cobbs and Michael Berryman -- have only small roles, so don't look for them to add much to the movie. As flawed as it is, The Tenant does deliver the main draw for a slasher movie -- blood 'n guts -- but genre fans might be hard-pressed to stick around waiting for it to appear.


Special features include deleted scenes, featurette and bloopers.

Movie: C

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the distributor. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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