Parents' Guide to

Red Dot

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Violence, language in uneven Swedish horror-thriller.

Movie NR 2021 86 minutes
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This uneven thriller could have been great, but too many issues keep it from reaching that potential. Intense action paired with plot twists that grow increasingly absurd. That's Red Dot, a Swedish horror-thriller that plays with the tried-and-true "city folk go into the country where they are pursued by homicidal countryfolk" storyline to meditate on themes of revenge and retribution. Although, "meditate" may be too tranquil of a word, as the young Stockholm married couple, David and Nadja, endure endless trauma, near-death, and torture once that titular red dot makes its first appearance. The acting is clearly a case of A+ for the effort of enduring these many traumas, even if the journey to get to these aforementioned themes of violence and retribution become a little too convenient, shoehorned, and illogical.

To its credit, these plot twists do extricate the movie from the usual boilerplate tropes of "psycho rednecks" wreaking havoc on the proverbial "city slickers." Once the action gets started, it doesn't let up, and the movie does strike a nice balance between the action and the development of David and Nadja's characters, their relationships, and how their actions may or may not have precipitated this descent into a life-or-death struggle in the Swedish hinterlands. It's just that the biggest plot twists ultimately feel unsatisfying and not fully explained. These "third act problems" prevent Red Dot from being a great movie, instead of a good one. As the movie plays with expectations, and on the audience's feelings as to who should be getting their comeuppance at the end, the story increasingly feels like the last 20 minutes in particular are forced into fitting into a theme of Old Testament justice, but the answers provided seem nihilistic. Also, it's not as if the main themes of the movie haven't been explored so many times before.

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