Rendez-vous Movie Review

Written by Joel Harley

Released by Axolotl Entertainment


Written and directed by Pablo Olmos Arrayales
2019, 102 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Grimmfest Northern Premiere on 2nd April 2021

Antonio Alcantara as Eduardo
Helena Puig as Lili
Italo Maximiliano Concha Veloz as Diego
Aaron Gomez as Roberto


Online dating: great for the lost and the lonely, but not without its pitfalls. For every success story, there are countless others of creeps, weirdos and monsters, preying on the naïve and unsuspecting. Online dating is an enterprise fraught with risks, especially if you happen to be a woman. Lili (Helena Puig) and Eduardo (Antonio Alcantara) think themselves prepared and, initially, seem to hit it off. So much so that Lili is prepared to overlook Eduardo being half an hour late – and the pair soon head to his apartment for dinner and a glass of wine. One of them, however, is bound for the bondage chair, and with it, an impressive set of shibari knots.

It’s fairly clear where Pablo Olmos Arrayales’s low-budget thriller is headed (to everyone except its victim, of course), and the writer/director plays with this sense of inevitability. Surely there must be more at play than this, the story of a predator and their prey? There is more to Rendez-vous than just that, but mostly, it’s about the delivery method.

rendez vous 01

Shot in one single take, with no cuts, it’s a stylish version of the kidnapping/torture movie – Hard Candy written and shot like a romantic arthouser. The one-take mechanic adds little to the narrative, but it’s well done. What’s going on in the red room (disclaimer: shot in black and white, the red room might not actually be red) while our kidnapper is entertaining guests downstairs? There’s an extra level of tension which wouldn’t otherwise be there, making the predictable story easier to engage with.

It’s also assisted immensely by the chemistry of its leads, Puig and Alcantara. This helps better sell the idea that she might head back to a stranger’s apartment on a first date. Unlucky for (whoever ends up in that bondage chair), eh? But lucky for the viewer, saving us from the usual amateur dramatics which tend to populate this kind of thing. And even luckier for Arrayales, for his impressive script to be so well-served by its performers.

rendez vous 02

Rendes-vouz’s story is slight, and frequently predictable – the apartment packing not only Chekhov’s gun but the rest of the armoury, too. But the film is not without its surprises. Most notably, an elegance that more of its peers could stand to learn from. Take note lads, this is how you make a first impression.


Movie: 2.5 Star Rating Cover

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Joel Harley
Staff Reviewer
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
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