Nobody can doubt or question the profound grief, rage and guilt which consumes Elena; she was the one driving when the car went off the road into a tree so she holds herself responsible for the death her twin sister, Vera, a prize-winning gymnast, the accident leaving her confined to an electric wheelchair, her legs and left arm useless and with only partial use of her right arm.

Elena’s depression compounded by the death of their mother not so long before, it was then that their father Miguel began drinking, but he now tries to make amends, making adjustments to their isolated farmhouse, a chairlift to take Elena upstairs, and ropes on all the door handles for her assistance dog Athos to help her around the house.

Viewing the improvements, Elena is subdued, saying she wishes to be alone, a wish soon to be granted when Athos is bitten by a bat; Miguel realises the dog must be taken to the vet for immediate attention but collapses in front of the house as he unloads the heavy suitcases, Elena unable to reach to him or call for help, and then Athos’ behaviour begins to change as the infection from the bite takes hold.

The debut feature of José Luis Montesinos from a script co-written with Yako Blesa, Ropes (Cuerdas) ties Paula del Río to the dual roles of Elena and Vera as much as she is tied to her chair and the house full of memories and tools she could use to defend herself and easy routes of escape, if only she could reach for them or if the back door did not lead to concrete steps.

Moving through despondency, desperation and determination, del Rio plays Elena with wide-eyed terror, while Espiona brings fierce intelligent to Athos, her loyal and able companion turned mad dog in the Spanish sun, physically agile, single-minded and ruthless.

Rabid dogs have been done before, in Doomwatch, Cujo and The Mad Death, but Ropes changes the setup by taking away any advantage Elena might have had, alone and with little hope of rescue, a variation of home invasion horror which makes what use it can of the self-imposed limitations of the story but which cannot help but doggedly repeat variations.

Ropes will be available on Digital Download from Thursday 19th November