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  • Rev Horror

Rock Paper Scissors

Dir. Doug Bollinger (2018)

A struggling couple undergo a horrific home invasion that will either bring them together or separate them once and for all.

Trauma is such an interesting psychological topic to explore, and there are a ton of horror films that do just that. Dealing with traumatic experiences, whether that's through positive changes like therapy or negative coping strategies like lashing out, can be a lifelong struggle in acceptance and self-improvement. Rock Paper Scissors explores a scenario where a troubled husband and wife are trying their best to recover from a terrifying home invasion, and their attempts to heal start to become far more dangerous than they had ever intended.

Missy (Timothy Laurel Harrison) is taken captive by a gang of intruders after going jogging, and the men ambush her husband Sam (Jeff Riberdy) when he gets home from work as well. After the baddies leave, the couple's relationship goes even further off the rails, and they seek therapy to recover from their experience (and in the hopes of improving their marriage). When Missy decides to try to find their attackers after a session with their therapist Stevie (Angela Sharp), the pair finds themselves spiraling down the road to revenge and loving every second of it, becoming closer as a couple as their thirst for retribution grows to a fever pitch.

Rock Paper Scissors was absolutely nothing like I expected it to be from the title. I thought it would be something along the lines of Obstacle Corpse, a horror comedy featuring some children's game. What I got instead was an impressive revenge thriller with an outstanding plot, tautly paced and expertly crafted as a realistic fantasy for anyone who has ever been a victim. Director Doug Bollinger does a phenomenal job with the film, taking a movie that starts slow and building it to a satisfying crescendo of violence that works to near perfection. Stars Harrison and Riberdy are fantastic as well, with Harrison's descent into almost-madness an absolute joy to watch.

The film does have a few shortcomings, but it's really more personal taste more than anything. I would've like a little bit more gore, as would feel fitting from a revenge thriller like this (or at least is common in previous entries into the genre). I also feel like the initial attack, which is only seen in shaky flashbacks that don't reveal a whole lot, really should have been explored more. Why it happened, even what happened, could have and probably should have been explored a lot more than it was. The story also started off a bit slower than I would have liked, and it feels like the chasm between the couple at the center of the story was left to mystery when it would've been nice to see how they got to where their relationship began in the film. These are all minor gripes, however, and while I think each of these things could have made the movie better, I also think it's a fantastic indie thriller as is.

Tubi holds a lot of unseen gems within its filmography, and I still don't understand at all how the manage to offer the selection that they do. The streaming platform contains more than its fair share of shit, to be sure, and you often have to wade through dozens of truly terrible movies before you hit on one that's actually worth watching. I was lucky enough to chat with Bollinger about this film before checking it out, and I'm truly grateful that I did because I likely would have missed the movie otherwise. Rock, Paper, Scissors is a movie that isn't at all what it seems to be in its title, but it manages to knock the indie revenge/home invasion thriller genre right out of the park, something that I never would have seen coming going in. I definitely recommend checking it out, and while Tubi is a fantastic place to be able to watch it for free, if you're the type that's willing to spend a little to support indie horror, you can rent it on Prime for just under a buck.

Who this movie is for: Revenge thriller lovers, Home invasion stans, Really bad therapists

Bottom line: Rock, Paper, Scissors is a fantastic indie revenge flick that is way different than the name implies. It's well-acted, well-plotted, and is one of the better indie films I've come across as of late. There are a few issues that I would have liked to see handled a little differently, but it's an excellent film despite it's small flaws. I enjoyed this one, and I think you will too. Check it out for free on Tubi, or throw a few bucks their way and support indie horror by renting it on Amazon Prime.

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