Directed by José Luis Montesinos  |  Spain  |  2019  |  1 hr 27 mins   

In the aftermath of her sister’s death in a car crash that left her paralysed, Elena travels with her father to a remote country house to recover and recuperate. To aid her in her new home, Elena’s father has arranged help in the form of Athos – a loyal Belgian Shepherd that has been specially trained to help her. As Elena struggles with her mental state as she attempts to come to terms with her new-found disability and her new surroundings, matters are complicated further when Athos is bitten by a bat and contracts a strange disease.  Trapped in her new home with a limited amount of power left in her electric wheelchair, Elena faces a fight for survival against a vicious creature that was meant to protect her.


Man’s best friend becomes a young woman’s worst enemy in ROPES, a welcome new addition to the “animal attack” subgenre. While Athos’ transformation from benevolent helper to rabid beast is undeniably effective (Move over Cujo!), arguably the most compelling aspect of the film is its sensitive portrayal of Elena’s disability. Her physical and emotional turmoil are expertly conveyed by Paula del Rio in a delicate and nuanced performance ranging from searing rage and frustration to self-reflection and guilt. With terrifying action set-pieces, ROPES is a tense and expertly-paced thriller that doesn’t disappoint.