Netflix Survival Thriller Turns Nature Into A Nightmare

By Robert Scucci | Published

Whenever I see a title with a massive disconnect between its critical and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes, my curiosity always gets the best of me. Red Dot is one such film that has an insane ratio that I had to look into because a 77 percent critical score against a 33 percent audience score tells me that this film was either over-hyped or underappreciated. Given that Red Dot is one of Netflix’s international offerings, I have reason to believe that people watching it with English dubs were taken out of the storytelling because this is a Swedish-language film.

Harrowing Swedish Survival Tale

When I first sat down to watch Red Dot, I didn’t even realize it was an international film because I like to fly blind and watch movies with zero expectations. I thought the promotional image and description were compelling, so I went ahead and hit ‘play.’ Initially torn between watching it in its original language with subtitles or with the English dubs, I opted for the former because the English dubbed dialogue was too lively for what’s supposed to be a thriller, and it immediately took me out of the storytelling.

That is all to say, I watched this movie the way it was intended to be watched, and I think that’s why I’m siding with the critics on this one.

Never Leave Your House

Red Dot boasts a simple survival premise involving its two protagonists, David (Anastasios Soulis) and Nadja (Nanna Blondell). Recently engaged but not without relationship struggles, David surprises Nadja with a camping trip under the northern lights. Unbeknownst to David, Nadja is pregnant and plans to break the news to him during their romantic getaway.

One Mistake

While gassing up on their way to the lodge, David and Nadja have a run-in with two traveling brothers named Jarmo (Kalled Mustonen) and Rolle (Tomas Bergstrom), who immediately make them uncomfortable. David notices that the two brothers are wild game hunters when he looks in their truck bed and discovers animal corpses under a tarp. Upon leaving the gas station, David accidentally rams into their car and decides to drive off without exchanging information, setting the rest of Red Dot in motion.

David and Nadja arrive at the lodge, only to realize that Jarmo and Rolle followed them to the lodge and vandalized their car in retaliation. Against her better judgment, Nadja finds their car and causes further damage with a screwdriver, which naturally leads to an escalation and a narrow escape. Thinking they’re alone after setting up a tent at their campsite, Nadja tells David she’s pregnant, but their celebration is cut short when a red dot appears on the inside of their tent.

No CGI Needed To Scare The Audience

Thinking at first that some teenagers are messing with them by shining a laser pointer, David and Nadja quickly realize that the red dot is actually the laser sight from a sniper rifle. Knowing that they’re being ambushed by Jarmo and Rolle, they run off from the campsite and seek out more substantial shelter, leaving their belongings behind. Sustaining injuries from a trap set by the brothers, as well as a gunshot, David becomes delirious and begins to hallucinate as he and Nadja brave the unforgiving winter wilderness and fight for survival.

This Film Goes Places

Red Dot’s frenetic pacing and tight run time make for an engaging thriller that’s only further enhanced by its beautiful nature shots as David and Nadja are being hunted down in an unfamiliar area without any way to contact the authorities. What truly makes this film a masterpiece of suspense, however, is its third-act reveal that M. Night Shyamalan wishes he was still capable of delivering. I can’t even get into it here without spoiling what you should be able to see for yourself but know that you will not be okay once the credits start rolling.

Be Nice To Strangers

I’d also like to mention that Red Dot tells me exactly why it’s best to avoid confrontations with strangers while you’re traveling because there’s no way to know what people are capable of. If somebody cuts you off in traffic, you must resist the urge to flip the bird because it’s not outside the realm of possibility that you’ll be followed and have a terrible time like David and Nadja. But also, shame on them for messing with people who have a trunk full of animal carcasses and clearly know how to use a rifle.

A Netflix Hidden Gem


I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by Red Dot, but I’ll definitely be watching it again sometime soon because it has inherent rewatch value. If you really want to enjoy this film, you need to suck it up and watch it in its original language. The fear depicted in this movie is better served by its native tongue, and the English dubs fail to capture what’s truly at stake.

Red Dot can be streamed on Netflix, and the critics were right about this one.