Raindance ’21 Review: ‘Where’s Rose’ is creepy, socially relevant horror

Horror is one of the essential genes we have, even though it’s treated as an afterthought by awards bodies and film snobs. It is one of the genres of film that sees the most creativity and one that, when deployed right, can shine light onto areas of our world in more interesting and relatable ways.

Where’s Rose is one of these.

Ty Simpkins (probably best known as the kid from Iron Man Three and Jurassic World) stars as high school football star, Eric. He has everything going for him: colleges want him, and so do the girls. He has a close relationship with his little sister, Rose (Skyler Elyse-Philpot), and when she goes missing one day, his whole family is devastated. When she returns the following day, Eric seems to be the only one who recognizes that the little girl that has come back to them isn’t the same little girl lost in the woods.

“Someone isn’t who they seem to be” is a classic setup, and this one doesn’t waste any time getting there. The film keeps up a brisk pace for its entire 83 minutes, but it doesn’t feel rushed or cut down once it’s on its way, which is refreshing.

Simpkins puts in a good performance as well, and this film is a great reminder that he is a good actor and not just a kid who was in movies once. The film asks a lot of him, and he mostly delivers, especially toward the end of the film when it starts asking more of him.

Once it gets where it’s going, the story doesn’t ask a ton of new questions or show us much that we haven’t seen before, but it presents them in a different context than you will likely have seen them before and the journey to the end is well executed and well worth watching. There is some good camera work, an excellent creature design, and a couple of good subversions. Not a masterpiece but a solid piece of genre filmmaking that will most likely end up on a streaming service near you. Watch for it when it does.

Where’s Rose played as part of the 2021 Raindance Film Festival.


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