Connect with us

Film Festivals

‘Rock, Paper and Scissors’ Review: Dirs. Macarena García Lenzi & Martín Blousson [Frightfest 2019]

Rock, Paper and Scissors review: Sibling rivalry reaches new heights in this Argentinian chiller.

Rock, Paper and Scissors

Maria José (Valeria Giorcelli) and her brother Jesús (Pablo Sigal) have recently lost their father. Since his demise, the pair have been struggling to fully process what has happened. Maria has taken to spending her days watching The Wizard of Oz on repeat, and Jesús is hard at work devising a film (essentially similarWizard of Oz) for Maria to star in. Their strange little set-up is interrupted when estranged half-sister Magdelena (Agustina Cerviño) arrives to claim her share of the inheritance. After an accident confines Magdelena to her deceased father’s bed, it soon becomes clear to her that something is very off with her half-siblings.

Rock, Paper and Scissors (or Piedra, Papel y Tijera as it is known in its native language) is a claustrophobic and chilling tale with a whiff of Stephen King’s Misery. Rather than it being a crazed number one fan and the author she adores, it is instead a sister with the overwhelming urge to look after those around her, even if that means keeping them ill. Madelenla’s incarceration echoes that of James Caan’s Paul Sheldon, with her spending much of the film trapped in a bed. Rather than have to plot her escape by hoarding pills etc. she tries to pit brother against sister and vice versa, and as she does so, the story twists and the tension turns.

Rock, Paper and Scissors

Rock, Paper and Scissors is a very quiet film, co-directors Macarena García Lenzi and Martín Blousson allowing the film to breathe. As nice as a good score is, it can ruin the moment sometimes, and by taking the time for silence, the duo creates an eerie tone. The restraint with use of score also allows the audience to really focus in on the characters as they frantically try to work out which, if any of the trio, they should be rooting for.

In many ways, this chamber piece could just as easily be placed on the stage as on the screen, but in doing so you would lose the wild, almost surreal elements that crop up occasionally. The film veers from quiet and creepy to loud and brash, keeping the audience on their toes. The moments of madness particularly stand out, and the sequences of Jesús’ film are an Artaudian dreamscape.

Rock, Paper and Scissors

Misery with some surreal sequences, Rock, Paper and Scissors does suffer from simultaneously being too short whilst feeling too long. There’s not a huge amount of story to tell and we jump too quickly to Magdelena’s ‘accident’, and what follows does occasionally fall into repetitive patterns making everything feel a tad drawn out. Somehow though the eighty-minute run time also isn’t enough time to fully explore the relationships and dynamics between the three. Jesús spends a chunk of the film missing and we never really get to see that much of another side of Maria, and don’t learn a great deal about Magdelena.

An effective unnerving film, Rock, Paper and Scissors could benefit from a little bit of finessing here and there, but overall is a pleasingly creepy genre film.

Rock, Paper and Scissors was reviewed at Arrow Video Frightfest 2019.

Kat Hughes is a UK born film critic and interviewer who has a passion for horror films. An editor for THN, Kat is also a Rotten Tomatoes Approved Critic. She has bylines with Ghouls Magazine, Arrow Video, Film Stories, Certified Forgotten and FILMHOUNDS and has had essays published in home entertainment releases by Vinegar Syndrome and Second Sight. When not writing about horror, Kat hosts micro podcast Movies with Mummy along with her five-year-old daughter.


Latest Posts


More in Film Festivals