Red Pill Review : Lackluster aftertaste

Has been described as a companion piece to the critically acclaimed Get Out

Midnight Releasing

With current events involving race and class hot on the lips, Red Pill uses that chance to delve into the weird world of the horror genre.

Red Pill has been described as a companion piece to the critically acclaimed Get Out, director Tonya Pinkins attempts to use the horror genre to explore topics of race and the racist institutions that litter not just America, but all over the world. Red Pill really tries to be weird and as creepy as possible, as it seeks to muster an eerie atmosphere (we even get a tasty little look at what could be in store during the opening pre-credit scene), but I couldn’t help but think about how it was trying a bit too hard to be quirky and unusual, just for the sake of some sort of mysticism. It doesn’t have the authentic smooth flow that similar cult like films such as Get Out or Midsommar has – which is hard to do I know.

Red Pill is set on the eve of the 2020 election, a group of six progressive adults make their way to red country for a weekend retreat, with a carefree attitude and a childlike naivety, the group will soon experience a very warm and weird welcome from the locals. Even with the constant red flags appearing one after another (the colour red is really magnified as a signifier for republican like control throughout), the group are completely unaware of what is about to hit them.

The film attempts to be incredibly topical, making sure to structure itself around current social and racial events, although it felt incredibly forceful when speaking about such problems, almost aggressively making you aware that this is going on, and if you didn’t hear them the first time, don’t worry because they will be sure to mention it again and again over the course of the film. Red Pill does differ from similar horror films in that it features a group of middle-aged people, with them coming from different ethnic backgrounds, instead of the usual hapless screaming teenagers. The problem is, these adults are so purposefully try hard, thinking their cool and trendy, it just becomes a little bit too… repugnant.

One of the biggest problems I had with Red Pill was its insistence on being overly weird and experimental, and way too dramatic in general – did it feel it needed to be this way for it to be effective? Trying to copy the aura and the clichés from more successful films of the past – I know it was created with a low budget, but it wasn’t half cheesy at times. The film incorporated some lucid dreaming sequences in another attempt at being super weird, they just looked very film school like, and I should know because I went to film school.

Looking at the cast you would assume that the performances would at least be strong, a plethora of acting talent with credits from hit shows like Oz and Fear the Walking Dead is a sure-fire way to give the film a boost, right? Well, that wasn’t the case, but I’m sure the cast weren’t helped by a script full of pretentious, and at times just ridiculous dialogue. The chemistry felt a bit forced as well, and when they weren’t ranting about the tyrannical white race, they were screaming bloody murder and doing stupid stuff – I could have sworn they were the dumb gimmicky teenagers of the horror norm.

Red Pill was a bit of a let down to put it gently, a film packed full of veracious messages and topics, and using the cult like neighborhood as a representation of the worrying social circles littering our world, and yet it just felt very aggressive with these points of view. It wasn’t even shot that cleanly; overly reliant on the shakiness of the camera which attempts to aid to its suspense and this “eerie” feel. There were just too many things wrong and not much right, I understand the messages that are being explored (and they are messages to be listened to) but the way they were presented was a bit much, subtlety in horror films can be far more effective than a slap in the face.

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