Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Rock, Paper, and Scissors Review: An Unsettling Family Thriller

Cast   Agustina Cerviño	Agustina Cerviño		 Valeria Giorcelli	Valeria Giorcelli		 Pablo Sigal	Pablo Sigal		 Produced by  Valentín Javier Diment	...	producer Vanesa Pagani	...	producer Hernán Virues	...	assistant producerMusic by  Gabriel Barredo	 Emilio Haro	Cinematography by  Nicolas Colledani	Film Editing by  Martín Blousson	Production Design by  Fabián Harsanyi

Release date: July 6, 2021
Running time: 83 minutes
Directors: Martín Blousson, Macarena García Lenzi
Cast: Agustina Cerviño, Valeria Giorcelli, Pablo Sigal

Jesus and Jose Maria are siblings living in a closed-off world constructed of strange games and relentless madness. When their half-sister Magdalena returns home to inquire about her share of their inheritance, a strange and bloody affair ensues.

Rock, Paper, and Scissors is a surprising horror thriller.  It sneaks up on you as it seems to start as simply a strange family visit, but it turns sinister after a deliciously slow build up.  The movie has some nice small touches, but one of the most impressive aspects is the music.  The music in the film is slightly out of tune, which raises your unease without overtly forcing it.  It is a wonderfully subtle touch, with music that gives the air of being relaxing and enjoyable but still causing you to sit on edge.  I can't emphasize enough how great this little touch was as the film didn't scream thriller when it first started.  But then little touches start to seep in and let you know that this is going to be more sinister than initially expected.  And little touches are what make this film so enjoyable.  One of the first I noticed was Jose Maria using her fingers to walk down the banister when she goes down the stairs.  It was a nice subtle touch that made me stop and take notice.  

And what really sells this film is the acting of the three main characters.  Jesus and Jose Maria are very quirky, with a strange feeling to them despite their nonthreatening demeaner.  They go through some abrupt changes to their personalities that help to ensure that the viewer stays on edge.  But it is such a subtle shift that it really takes you by surprise.  It seemed like each time that we saw them they were slightly different.  But overall it led to an unsettling feeling despite nothing overtly threatening.  And Magdalena is also quite good; she is a regal, capable person that is a nice contrast to the other two family members.  And she uses some subtle tricks to try and get the upper hand in this strange family dynamic.  The small size of the cast and limited locales make this feel like a play at times.  But the film is not simply unsettling, there is some humor in the film as well.  Jesus and Jose Maria are creating a film, and it has all the hallmarks of a low budget, home project.  It will make you laugh when you see it the first time, but there are also subtle hints built into the project.

If there are negatives with Rock, Paper, Scissors, they are excessively minor.  There is a Wizard of Oz motif that just doesn't seem fully realized; like something that makes a few appearances but isn't fully committed during the film.  And the characters call a Guinea pig a ferret, but I'm not sure if that is just something that is different due to the translation.  But don't let any of this dissuade you from seeing this understated, unique, and unsettling micro horror film.

Rock, Paper, and Scissors is an understated, unique, and unsettling film that uses some nuanced performances and fantastic music to create this sinister family thriller.    

Watch it.

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Rock, Paper, and Scissors is available digitally and on demand on July 6, 2021.  

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