Thanks to the kind folks over at Indican Pictures I was sent a screener for this enjoyable new horror title, the Tenant. The greatest praise I can give to the director and his production company, Ric La Monte and ReelDreams, is that they have successfully taken bits and bobs from 80’s cult classic films like Re-Animator, Funhouse, It’s Alive, and Hell Night and made a film that stands on its own merits and best of all I really felt like this movie could have come from the heyday of 80’s VHS horror marathons, the kind I used to watch in my youth.
While we start the film in present day with two teenagers trying to find a place…for some quiet time…we learn just as they do that the abandoned Edgewood Asylum, well, it’s not so abandoned after all. After a pretty shocking opening, with a really nice bit of special gore effects, we are taken back 28 years earlier when the Asylum was in better hands.
Well, maybe not better hands after all.
We are introduced to Dr. Walter Newman (Randy Molnar) who is up late waiting for a special delivery from an ‘associate’ of his, Jack Rymer (Bill Cobbs). These opening scenes with the two men set up everything we need to know about Dr. Newman…he is a mad scientist! Thankfully the director knows that the key to all successful mad scientists is that you have to feel for them, even if what they are doing is wrong.
We are quickly introduced to Dr. Newman’s wife, Olivia (Georgia Chris), and his faithful sycophant of an assistant, Ms. Tinsley (Sylvia Boykin). We learn that while Olivia and Dr. Newman are quite in love with each other, the Doctor’s genetic experiments are causing a strain on not only their relationship but their bank account. Olivia reveals that Dr. Newman has even been neglecting his patients in the Asylum for his all consuming desire on his genetic research and that the state might revoke their license. At this point we also learn that Ms. Tinsley possesses a rather unhealthy devotion to Dr. Newman and said research, which later she proves by administering some of their research, that they took from a rather disturbed and cannibalistic inmate named Arthur Delman (Michael Beryman), to a pregnant Olivia. Obviously the results are less than…pleasant.
I don’t want to go any further because I am afraid of giving too much spoiler but have a look at the trailer below. Please be warned though there is some gore to it!
The Tenant delivers on what all cult horror films do, strong character actors like Randy Molnar, Bill Cobbs, and Michael Berryman, a wonderful premise, and most importantly of all, a good time.