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Parents' Guide to

Red Pill

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Heavy-handed horror on politics, race; violence, language.

Movie NR 2021 87 minutes
Red Pill Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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This is an earnest movie with an important message that gets lost in the flawed execution. Red Pill is the latest in the canon of movies that use horror to open up a discussion on the many forms of racism, White supremacy, prejudice, and the increasingly violent divide in contemporary America. For better or worse, there's no subtlety or sugarcoating in the viewpoints expressed, either in the dialogue or the action. While there's obviously nothing wrong with using art to provoke debate and discussion about what's going on in society, the desire to communicate these messages gets to be extremely heavy-handed within the first ten minutes, to say nothing of the self indulgence of the characters singing a too-long folk song over some wine at the dinner table. Agree with them or not, the six main characters come across as little more than representatives of the nuances in left-of-center viewpoints, and any attempts at humanizing them beyond this seem forced and amateurish.

It's not the opinions expressed that make the movie not as good as it might have been. It's the way these opinions are expressed throughout. The polemics from the characters grow to be as tiresome as some Ayn Rand character going on and on about why it's great to be a selfish jerk. It's reminiscent of the leftist critiques in late '60s Godard movies, but not in a good way. The sincerity behind this is undeniable, but around the time of when the violent and creepy third act of the "city folk go to the countryside and start getting killed by the country folk" horror kicks in, the action comes across as weird and unsatisfying, and there's even grainy black-and-white film footage of Hitler in mid-speech, in case you're still unsure of what the movie is trying to say. Regrettably, the sincerity behind this cannot overcome the subpar creation.

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