What would you do for love? Just how far would you go? It’s a question which has fascinated and troubled writers and storytellers for hundreds of years. If you look to the core of most stories, the ‘l’ word will almost always be there. Whether that’s through the sphere of romance, friendship or family. It’s a question which cuts across genres and finds itself in the unlikeliest places. It’s at the heart of Jennifer Sheridan’s feature debut, Rose: A Love Story.
Rose (Sophie Rundle) and Sam (Matt Stokoe) live in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the Lake District. Their isolation is self-imposed. Whilst he works the land she sets about trying to write, but their situation covers up a deadly secret. Rose has a vampiric disease which means that when the hunger is upon her, she becomes something else altogether. Something primitive and feral. As their relationship strains under the pressure, the arrival of a stranger threatens their fragile existence.
Rose: A Love Story is a beautifully made indie horror which coalesces around a central love story. Their isolation, both geographically and socially, progressively weighs upon them. As does Rose’s illness, which constantly lurks in the shadows; just waiting for a moment of weakness. Martyna Knitter’s cinematography instils a palpable sense of dread by heightening a feeling of claustrophobia. Both leads impress, particularly Stokoe who also wrote the script. Rose: A Love Story is an intelligent and handsomely realised film from a talented filmmaker.
Rose: A Love Story screens at London Film Festival until 16 October.