Rose: A Love Story
Jennifer Sheridan’s feature directorial debut follows married couple Sam (Matt Stokoe, also writer) and Rose (Sophie Rundle), who must live in total isolation and darkness in the English countryside to protect her from the outside world. She suffers from an illness that gives her vampiric tendencies, transmogrifying into a vicious creature at the smell of blood. Rose stays in the totally dark house writing short stories, as Sam gardens and hunts, trapping wildlife and growing vegetables. When Amber (Olive Gray), a rambunctious runaway teen, stumbles upon their faraway fortress, the couple’s protection is jeopardised.
Horror flicks generally function to shock, terrify and unsettle their audiences, personifying the most depraved and evil elements of human nature, but what this film brings to light is that, even in the darkest situations, one can always fine love, light and hope. The title may seem ironic, as the subject matter relates to a blood-thirsty murderous disease, this is one of the most honest portrayals of love. Sam literally allows leeches to suck his blood for Rose to eat, weakening himself so that his wife can survive and putting even Romeo to shame.
The two leading performances are what carry the result. Even in a dull, dim house, the intimacy of the couple in their fight for a normal life drives the narrative forward. Olive Gray’s entrance as the average, awkward teenager, who never knows when to stop talking, injects needed electricity. Despite revolving around fantastical elements, the movie’s dialogue and performances are so true to human life, it resembles exactly the journey couples go on with illnesses such as cancer or dementia – conditions that can be just as scary as horror films.
Rose: A Love Story may have horror elements, but at its core, it is a truly original story of how far people will go to protect the ones they love, and how they will stand by them even in the worst of times.
Rose: A Love Story is released digitally on demand on 5th April 2021.
Watch the trailer for Rose: A Love Story here: