Thursday, August 5, 2021
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‘Red Dot’ fails to address dead-ends

By Joey Gibbs
Staff Writer

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.

“Red Dot,” an easily-predictable sweedish film, was released Feb. 11 (Netflix).

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.


  1. I don’t think the points were dead ends, I think they went over your head because the “woke” crowd tends to view themselves as heroes above reproach and the whole point of the film is to poke holes on that idea.
    Potential spoilers ahead for anyone who hasn’t seen the film.
    The characters aren’t accidentally insufferable, they are complex combinations of positive and negative traits as we all are: capable of both good and evil. This is a main theme of the film.
    Nadja is portrayed as one of the least reprehensible characters in the film. She’s smart, strong, and caring. David is a bit of a bumbling, oblivious idiot, but these traits are forgiven by both Nadja and the audience because of his love for Nadja and his good intentions. The sum of these traits ultimately lead to Nadja’s downfall.
    It’s also not an accident that the characters are established as overly cheesy and obvious. We are meant to identify with Nadja and David and feel warm toward Thomas early on. We’re meant to hate the redneck brothers for all of the obvious reasons.
    There are a couple of different ways to interpret the ending and I’m not familiar enough with the director to know which interpretation he intended or whether or not it is intentionally ambiguous.
    If Nadja had been on her own, she likely would have survived the ordeal. In fact, she wouldn’t have been in the situation in the first place. This could be reflective of the idea that minorities will always be hindered by white men, but it could also feed into the idea that people and relationships are far more complex than many of us care to admit. I tend to lean toward the latter explanation, despite the fact that it is a bit of a surprising message coming from a Swedish film. It’s really easy to hate the redneck brothers and the obvious assumption is that they were the ones hunting the couple down, but in the end we’re left wondering if they may have been the ones to save the couple from their impending doom.
    We also see that the hit-and-run incident was what sparked the antagonist’s transformation into a monster.
    The final surprise is the fact that Nadia is ultimately killed by another woman and mother. Furthermore, the weapon of choice was a gun. This goes against every statistic and stereotype that exists regarding violence and women.
    Overall, I really appreciated this film and the fact that it diverges from the popular and surface-level messages most of us have come to expect to coming out of Hollywood. Regardless of your opinions on social issues, it’s always good to question our own motives and actions and remember that it’s not just other people who are capable of both good and evil.


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