Vampires are well-loved by storytellers, from Dracula to Twilight to What We Do in the Shadows; each has left their mark. Enter Rose, Sophie Rundle’s titular character, who lives alone with her human husband Sam (Matt Stokoe), hidden away in a forest cabin, out of reach from predators and prey alike.

Rather like Angela Carter’s Lady of the House of Love, rather than an evil seductress, Rose is a doe-eyed damsel, scared and sick from her condition. Rundle plays the multifaceted role splendidly: guilty, self-conscious, kind and considerate, concerned for her husband as much as he is for her. These humanising aspects make the moments of monstrosity more disconcerting, hammering home the tragedy.

Though unoriginal in setting, the snowy woods are peaceful yet ominous and the creaky cabin keeps Sam and the viewers on edge throughout, the sound design is delicately arranged – the echoes of the forest are welcoming at times and overwhelmingly hostile at others. The cosy domesticity inside is disrupted by the harsh lighting, unforgiving ultraviolet enhancing the fear and tension between them.

Stokoe’s script is a good jumping-off point, delicately examining the impact of illness on a relationship, but dodges a lot of the backstory. How was she bitten? When did they meet? How long have they lived here? It’s a tantalising window into an intriguing life, but only serves the plot within the film’s timeframe. Though this choice lends itself to claustrophobia and mystery, without ascertaining more of their past, it limits the audience’s empathy for the couple.

Jennifer Sheridan’s wintry feature debut is a suspenseful quarantine horror, and she does her best to portray its stars in a sympathetic light. But without a little more to anchor their tragic tale and make Rose distinctive, our insight into this fascinating, freezing landscape is limited.



CAST: Sophie Rundle, Matt Stokoe, Nathan McMullen, Olive Gray, Boadicea Ricketts

DIRECTOR: Jennifer Sheridan

WRITER: Matt Stokoe

SYNOPSIS: In a cabin in the woods, a woman stricken by a supernatural illness hides from civilization with her husband. The arrival of an unwanted visitor threatens their secrecy and safety.