The 2020 Final Girls Berlin Film Festival ran from February 6 through 9 and we here at Film Combat Syndicate were lucky enough to have remote access to some of the feature films and shorts.
One of the ideas guiding this year’s film festival was best described by co-director Sara Neidorf when she said, “Horror is a very elastic term and we’re excited to discover films that make us question and expand our conceptions of what horror can be, both in ways that are distant from and uncannily near our own realities.”
The Argentinian film Rock, Paper, Scissors fits this above thought perfectly. Horror is not always an escaped mental patient, the teenage girl being stalked by what appears to be a superhuman, nor is it the monsters hiding under the bed. Sometimes horror is just not knowing who to trust.
In Rock, Paper, Scissors directors Macarena García Lenzi and Martín Blousson play with what horror is and in this case we get to see what happens when “The routine of eccentric, maladjusted siblings is disrupted when their half-sister arrives looking for her share of the inheritance, resulting in a series of sick games to see who is the rock, who is the paper, and who is the scissor.”
I was pulled into this movie from the very beginning: it starts simply enough with the siblings Jesus and Maria Jose watching The Wizard of Oz and they play a game of, you guessed it, rock, paper, scissors to see who has to answer the door. It is their half-sibling Magdalena who has come to help them tie up loose ends after the death of their father. But things don’t go so simply; Magdalena has a fall that she thinks is not an accident so the viewers get to watch her slow recovery and wonder who is helping whom and who is hurting whom. It is like Wizard of Oz meets Misery with a familial twist reminiscent of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. The plot was well laid out with bits of Wizard of Oz interwoven nicely, the pacing was great as it helped the viewer feel what Magdalena was experiencing. This is not a typical slasher or action-packed horror yet it was just as exciting. Sometimes family hurts and in this film, family can be horror.
Rock, Paper, Scissors (Piedra, Papel y Tijiera) is subtitled but that did not lessen the viewing experience. It premiered at the Final Girls Berlin Film Festival on February 9th. If you have a chance to watch it, do not skip this film.