TW: This drama contains scenes of suicide
Most of us have a love/hate relationship with our phones – their batteries don’t last as long as we would like them to and the apps on them can often waste much of our time, for example. However, the irritating things aside, we are increasingly reliant on them for everyday life – I can barely remember birthdays or my social commitments without mine at this point (the shame, I know.) There’s even a term, believe it or not, for smartphone addiction – Nomophobia, an indicator of just how widespread, if not normal, this phenomenon is becoming in our lives.
This show cleverly taps into this increasing reliance on technology and takes it to a dark extreme. The scariest thing about the whole concept is that it’s not even that farfetched when we think about what tech is capable of and the evil many humans use it for.
The Nitty gritty
The eight episode drama follows a friendship group of six students who have just finished secondary school (year 11 to the UK audience /high school) and are celebrating their freedom in their post-exams summer. Or so they should be. However, a mysterious app named ‘Red Rose’ has other plans for the group and they must eventually end up fighting for their lives (and those of their loved ones) whilst figuring out who is behind the app.
I want to say I started the drama calm and detached but this is anything but true. In fact – and I won’t ruin too much – but RIGHT at the beginning we witness a mysterious and tragic accident without much context. Immediately your mind races with questions that are painstakingly revealed towards the middle to end of the show. The questions don’t ever really end and what follows throughout the drama is a series of events that appear to be unrelated but are at their core all connected.
It’s not all doom and gloom though – there are banterous scenes with humour dotted throughout which help to ease tension and help you relax, even if momentarily. Scenes of kids being kids which made me smile with nostalgia. For example, the scenes at the beginning where they’re celebrating the end of exams and signing each other’s school shirts or the moment they open their results. Made me think about to that feeling of the world being at your feet and the start of something exciting beginning.
In this BBC drama, nothing is as it seems, so be prepared – it’s truly a Northern twist-turner from beginning to end and I’m not complaining! It turned unexpectedly from a show quickly turned into a binge with me on my sofa at 4am doing the classic ‘just one more episode’ and finishing the series. I would be intrigued to see based on the show’s success (it’s trending at number 9 on most watched UK dramas on Netflix at the time of writing) whether a sequel will be in the making. I won’t be mad if they don’t but I’ll definitely be queuing to watch if they do! Overall, would highly recommend.
Some tweet highlights of people reacting to the show:
Interested? Check out the trailer here. Watched already? Let me know your thoughts!
I do see some similarities between this show and the Mexican drama, Control Z (also set in a high school and involves tech and blackmail), so for fans of this show who fancy another dose, this will be up your street too. You can read my review of that show here.