There's a great paradox with superior films; sometimes it's better to know absolutely nothing about them before viewing but then how do you decide which films to watch? Rose is one of those films. Watching it for the first time, I found myself wishing I hadn't watched the trailer nor read the synopsis. It would have been a far richer experience to allow this slow-burn of a film to unfold independently of what I knew about it, to allow the plot to be delicately and quietly delivered.
If you're the type of person to follow wise and sage advice, stop reading here and go see Rose. It's premiering at the 2020 BFI London Film Festival tonight and I suspect that it's going to be a favourite of critics and fans alike.
Directed by Jennifer Sheridan and starring Sophie Rundle (Peaky Blinders) and Matt Stokoe, Rose opens with a couple who have escaped the chaos of modern life to live a life of self-subsistence in a cottage in the woods.
The fragile life they have forged and the secrets they harbour are threatened when another person enters into their lives; can they maintain their tenuous grasp on their way of life?
Rose is a visually beautiful horror film, filmed in a snowy forest in Wales. I knew within the opening shots that I was going to enjoy the film with it's beautiful cinematography and chilling atmosphere.
The icy conditions burst through the screen, rendering the viewer intimately aware of the conditions the couple are facing, of what it would mean to run out of fuel for their generators and just how isolated they are.
Matt Stokoe (who wrote Rose) is superb as Sam, a man determined to do whatever it takes to protect Rose. Rose is, after all, first and foremost a love story and Sam's love for Rose knows no limits. Sophie Rundle shines as Rose, drawing the viewer into the psyche of a terrified, insecure and delicate woman, barely keeping it all together. Final mention must go to Olive Gray who is superb as Amber.
The real star of the show in Rose is the plot. I want to say there is a twist or a reveal but the truth is that if you've been concentrating, it won't be much of a surprise at all. It is very well done, is very frightening and gave me that warm feeling inside that only a good horror film can deliver.
I emphatically give Rose a superb five out of five stars and recommend to fans of slow-burn, British independent horror. Definitely add this to your to-watch list and remember that horror isn't only for Halloween.