REVIEW: ‘Red Dot’ – A Mediocre Thriller with a Twist

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Red Dot

Red Dot is a suspense thriller from Netflix. Nadja and David are struggling in their relationship. David works all the time and Nadja is finding it difficult to balance her studies to become a doctor and having to maintain their home. As their difficulties seem to be coming to a head David suggests the couple go on a three-day hiking trip in the woods. Just them and their dog, hiking among the trees and taking in the beauty of the northern lights. What could go wrong?

There is perhaps no more fickle a storytelling device than the plot twist. When executed properly it can bring a whole new dimension to a movie. It turns everything the viewer believed into a falsehood. It can surprise, or delight. But what makes the twist such a tricky tool to work with is even if the twist is kept secret till the moment it’s revealed, even if the twist changes and expands upon the narrative in an unforeseen and interesting way, there is every possibility the viewer simply won’t like the change. At which point, the big reveal moment of the story falls flat. And generally, the bulk of the narrative is quick to follow. This is a struggle I think many will have when checking out Red Dot.

Our story opens at David’s college graduation. Nadja is there with him, and the two are all smiles. The joy of the moment expands further as David attempts a sweet, but clumsy marriage proposal. It the kind of fail that isn’t embarrassing or cringe, just cute. A great story Nadja will never tire of embarrassing him with.

Flash forward an undisclosed amount of time and the “honeymoon” period of the relationship is no longer present. David is swamped with work, and Nadja is struggling to manage their home and her studies to become a doctor. The couple is clearly in a rough place. And to make the situation tenser for Nadja, she has found out she is pregnant. Though David is still not in the know. Before she can tell him, David springs a surprise trip on her. Three days of hiking in the wilderness. Crisp snow, lush forests, and sleeping beneath the northern lights. A lovely trip for the two to reconnect.

The trip begins to go wrong before the couple even reaches their hotel. While stopping for gas the two have an uncomfortable run-in with a pair of men who give off all kinds of creepy vibes. As David and Nadja leave the station, David accidentally dings the pair’s pick up truck. Rather than inform the uncomfortable individuals as Nadja suggests, David chooses to simply drive off. David’s lack of intestinal fortitude is his most prominent characteristic.

After spending the night at their hotel the couple head out for their weekend of hiking, only to discover their car has been keyed, and a nasty statement left on one of their bumper stickers. The couple is not happy but continue along with their plans.

En route to the launch point for their hike, they come across the pickup truck from the day before. Convinced that these are the folks that vandalized their car in the night, Nadja decides to return the favor. Nearly being caught in the act, the couple must make a quick escape but can head out and enjoy their weekend.

Red Dot’s narrative begins to pick up as the couple bed down after their first day in the woods. As the night outside grows dark the duo notices a red dot on their tent. Initially confused, they quickly go out to see who is outside. As the dot starts bouncing between heads and chests, the implicated threat is soon understood and the couple rushes back inside their shelter. Though tents don’t hold up well to bullets.

From here, David and Nadja enter a game of cat and mouse as they are pursued through the woods. With little effective experience at survival and no familiarity with the terrain, the couple is in hot water. As wounds begin to build up, the effort of going on becomes ever more difficult.

The various suspenseful moments that Red Dot delivers through the bulk of its run-time are executed well, if not fantastically. With many of the scenarios playing out as one might expect, the punch of any real surprises is largely absent, till the big twist at the end.

Red Dot

The bulk of whether or not this movie can be put above the simple mediocre level the bulk of the production feels like comes down completely with how this moment hits for you. I can see some finding it skillful and surprising. While others will undoubtedly dislike how it fundamentally changes the outlook on some of the characters and their interaction. For me, I find myself appreciating what the director went for here, while not fully loving the outcome. It does hurt how I view some of the characters within the story, but I can’t honestly think of a story with a twist quite like this. Given it’s a short hour and a half to watch, folks who enjoy suspense, and unforeseen surprises in their movies may want to give it a watch just for that.

The cinematography in Red Dot delivers most of the sequences with a component degree of skill. There are only a couple of moments where I felt camera choices were truly bad, and there is a stand out sequence involving a frozen lake that I feel the camera work truly nails.

The acting work also falls solidly on the level of decent. No character ever pulled me out of the movie with their performance, while none grabbed me either. Though it is important to note that the version of the movie i watched was dubbed from Swedish. So some of the struggles could be the English lines not lining up right with the original dialogue and character expressions.

When all is said and done Red Dot brings an interesting and solidly executed suspense movie. If you are looking for something in the genre that you can kill an hour and a half with, this could prove a good means of doing so.

Red Dot is streaming exclusively on Netflix.

Red Dot
  • 6/10
    Rating - 6/10
6/10

TL;DR

When all is said and done Red Dot brings an interesting and solidly executed suspense movie. If you are looking for something in the genre that you can kill an hour and a half with, this could prove a good means of doing so.