Grimmfest 2020 Film Feature - Ropes (AKA Prey)

Runtime: 87 mins

Directed by: José Luis Montesinos

Starring: Paula del Río, Miguel Ángel Jenner, Jordi Aguilar

Grimmfest Feature by: Darren Tilby



Synopsis: With the sorrow for her sister’s death still very recent, Elena, a young quadriplegic, has retired to a country house along with her father. There she has the help of Athos, a Belgian pastor specially trained to help her. But the creature who is supposed to be her best friend has contracted a strange disease... and has turned into her worst enemy.


Grimmfest say: A paralyzed girl. A rabid carer dog. A duel to the death for survival. A smart Spanish spin on the Stephen King classic, CUJO, this sees a suicidal young woman, recently left quadriplegic by the same car crash that killed her twin sister, trapped alone in the family home, with a limited amount of power left in her electric wheelchair, and under attack from an increasingly rabid alsatian. The twist is, he's a trained support dog, so he's very smart. Where the film really comes into its own, though is in the sympathetic and sensitive portrayal of the protagonist's struggles with her disability, which are all the more acute because she is still coming to terms with it, learning to cope with the day to day things. So much of the narrative hinges on problems that would not afflict an able-bodied character, thus illustrating precisely the kinds of issues people with disabilities face in a world not designed to accommodate their needs. The end result is a tense, tightly-contained, eye-opening and thought-provoking thriller, sharply played, and expertly staged, with a strong social message. And a cool dog.


What I'm Expecting: Cool dog?! I'm sold! Seriously though, any film that aims to follow in the footsteps of the great Stephen King has some pretty big boots to fill, but even more so when those boots belong to Cujo, one of King's best. But my main area of interest here is the focus on this woman's fight with psychological trauma and sudden physical impairment. Disability in film, both mental and physical, is underrepresented, at best. At worst, it is completely misrepresented and offensive. There is a difficult balance to strike between presenting disability sensitively and honestly and exploiting it for entertainment. But if the filmmakers can get that right, this could be a very special little film.