By Joey Gibbs
I say we draft up a constitution and send it to every director in the world to tell them that we have had enough with bleak snowy horror movies. I am tired of seeing completely unlikeable characters prance around in strawberry snow for an hour and a half.
“Red Dot,” a new thriller directed by Swedish director Alain Darborg, is such a beautiful example of a predictable and boring cold horror. It gave me “Frozen” vibes — not the Disney extravaganza, but the critically panned horror flick where three people who totally lack common sense get stuck on a chairlift.
So, the troubled couple — with a complete lack of chemistry might I add — David and Nadja go up to a snowy resort to try to rekindle their failing marriage. After quarrels, a surface level emotional conversation with a neighbor, and a hidden pregnancy, the danger duo along with their trusted pup saddle up and head out to see the northern lights.
The foreshadowing in this movie was too obvious or too forceful, the camerawork was not remarkable, and the music was either non-existent or too quiet to be impactful. This movie gave me nothing but a few blank stares and long pauses to refill my iced coffee. I had my eyebrow cocked and my eyes squinted for the duration of the movie, either stunned at the amateur dialogue or trying to see what was going on. Snowy forests can make stunning visuals, but this movie was so dark that the action was literally difficult to see. I instinctively kept increasing my laptop’s brightness only to see that it was already at the maximum.
The movie is available for streaming on Netflix. The service also defaulted my audio to be dubbed in English and, in a word, it was horrendous. Make sure to switch it to the original Swedish audio for — albeit still emotionless dialogue — a much more pleasurable viewing experience.
I want to start with Nadja, played by Nanna Blondell, who has no defining personality trait. She acted fine for what the mediocre writing offered her. I was excited to see a woman of color have a rather empowering role as she wears the pants in her relationship, and they explored the route of how she deals with racism. However, this addressed topic exists for the first 15 minutes of the movie and is never addressed again. It felt shabby and tacky, evidently written by someone who has never experienced racism.
Actually, there were several interesting points in the film that just had dead ends. The movie is called “Red Dot” because it represents a sniper’s laser, and the plot begins with the laser following them. Then, the sniper’s laser never appears again.
Overall, Nadja has no real character development, and in a similar vein of the ‘bury your gays’ trope, you can assume what happens to the tokenized POC in the movie.
Her ever-struggling husband David, played by Anastasios Soulis, is just an insufferable character. He had a lot of terrible moments — the awkward proposal, his numerous monotone reactions to life-threatening events, his participation in the big (and indifferent) plot twist. However, his worst moment was definitely hearing gunshots and knowing how long the weapon takes to reload. Why? Because he played the video game Battlefield.
In accordance with the off-color and random dialogue, there are the elements of the plot that just happen. Nadja and David luckily find a fully furnished cabin, they get lost on ice, the cave they hide in happens to have a sleeping bear. It was just boring — the dull scenery must have infected the plot and just made the whole thing drab.
I like how circular the story is, but the wow-factor effect it could have is cancelled out by the pacing and the random plot elements. After sitting with these spiteful characters and seeing the connections come together, the ending was just an utter disappointment. The phrase torture porn comes to mind, and after you watch the film you will see why. While I could see the artful impact it could have had, the ending felt like a cheesy attempt to make the movie deeper and more meaningful.
If I actually liked these main characters and if they took the time to develop them and add something to them besides making them nag and play video games, the ending would tug at my heartstrings a lot more, and not just leave me thankful that the movie is over.
“Red Dot” left so much more to be desired. This movie will remain buried in the snow of 2021 as there are other movies that will successfully get to you and leave you on the edge of your seat.