23rd Aug2019

Frightfest 2019: ‘Rock, Paper and Scissors’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Pablo Sigal, Agustina Cerviño, Valeria Giorcelli | Written and Directed by Martín Blousson, Macarena García Lenzi


Jesus and Maria José live together in the grand house that belonged to their recently deceased father. Their playful routine is disrupted when Magdalena, their half sister on their dad’s side, returns from Spain asking for her share of the inheritance. What are they going to do about this interloper into their dangerous folie à deux? They don’t want to sell the house and in order to keep it they may have to determine who’s the rock, the paper and the scissors of their family, and who will win this sick, twisted psychological game…

Right from the get-go there are shades of Misery and Psycho to Rock, Paper and Scissors, both in terms of the subject matter and to a lesser extent the soundtrack – which at times echoes the twisted score of Bernard Herrmann, especially in the bizarre stories, acted out on screen in psychedlic fever dreams, that Jesus tells. And like the aforementioned films there’s a real sense that nothing is what it seems in this film – even moreso than the behaviours and actions of the cast, which are already odd and uninviting. There really feels like there’s something both strange and dangerous bubbling under the surface of the entire film, something even more bizarre than what we’re seeing – a truth that the audience is not privy to.

The odd imagery of Jesus’ stories, and an obsession with The Wizard of Oz, underlies this entire film – after all, there’s no place like home and it’s INCREDIBLY clear that Maria really doesn’t want to leave home. Ever. Yet whilst she’s presented as the slightly disturbed one of the trio, it’s clear that all the members of this family are not quite right. Jesus’ obsession with storytelling and making his “film” is just as warped as Maria’s OZ-session. And as for Magda, she seemingly relishes in the conflict between herself and her siblings, playing up her role as the victim in all this. OK, so she’s not quite as disturbed as her brother and sister but still she’s obviously troubled by… something. Perhaps related to her upbringing? Maybe that’s why this family is so troubled?

Like a lot of genre films released this year, Rock, Paper and Scissors also deals with the idea of loss and grief and how both can effect the human condition… In this case fracturing already fragile psyches, pushing people to breaking point and beyond (something superbly illustrated by the films freakish animated segments). Oh, and did I mention The Wizard of OZ has never, NEVER, been so terrifying!

**½  2.5/5

Rock, Paper and Scissors screened as part of Arrow Video Frightfest on Thursday August 22nd 2019.


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