BBC Three’s teen horror series Red rose has been warmly received by critics after its premiere earlier this week.
Set in Bolton, the action revolves around a group of school friends as their phones are gradually taken over by a rogue app that threatens them with sinister consequences if they fail to comply. The cast includes: The Last Kingdom‘s Amelia Clarkson, Metal Lords‘ Isis Hainsworth and doctor who‘s Samuel Anderson.
Created by Chasing Bly ManorMichael and Paul Clarkson, Red rose is directed by Elite‘s Ramon Salazar and produced by Eleven, the company behind Sex education. Reviews have drawn comparisons to big-name show-droppings like techno-thriller anthology black mirror and critically acclaimed Channel 4 sitcom Derry Girls.
Related: black mirror‘s future finally confirmed after season 5
Here’s a summary of what the critics thought:
“A combination of British Teen Grittiness™ from Hides with the eerily disobedient technology of black mirror, Red rose is the latest offbeat YA offering from BBC Three.
“Based on a large number of current topics, Red roseThe first episode was both highly entertaining and surprisingly thought-provoking. Great performances from the core cast (especially Isis Hainsworth) exalted Red rose than the usual fare without sacrificing viewability – but beware, you’ll never look at your phone the same way again.”
“The creators, Michael and Paul Clarkson, have previously worked with horror hokum (they produced) Chasing Bly Manor), but here they make something more captivating. The two protagonists, Rochelle (Hainsworth) and Wren (Amelia Clarkson), are up to their necks with the plausible annoyance of teenagers, with all the poverty, childcare, broken families and our old friend dirty fathers.”
Den of Geek
“Social media is bad and scary, young women are often horrible to each other and everyone spends too much time on their phones. That’s actually NOT the main take away from the first three episodes of this kind of YA-esque horror series. BBC Three.
“It’s actually much more nuanced than that in a series that initially plays out as a mix of 2010s horror teen drama from the 90s and Derry Girlspotty-mouth rough-and-tumble sense of humor. Strange combo, though that may sound, in Red rose it works, choosing the best tropes, populating the show with sympathetic and believable characters, and sprinkling modern social realism into the mix.”
Related: Netflix’s sandman has achieved the impossible
“In many ways, this series tackles the complexities of teenage life – jealousy, fear and the fear of missing out feels familiar and familiar. The talented young cast gives life to the dialogue, helping the characters feel anchored in both their playful chatter and their understandable fears.
“Yet, Red rose suffers from a clash of big ideas, all competing for our attention at every moment: virtual reality, ghosts, exorcisms, mental health problems and poverty. The show seems unsure of what it wants to be, and in its effort to cover all the bases of the thriller genre, the story gets sketchy.”
“I wasn’t sure if modern teens would turn to the church to fight the app’s supernatural powers, as in Red rose. Surely they would have tried digital hacks for holy water? But then it’s fun to watch them pit old magic against new in this captivating clash of Ken Loach/Stephen King worlds.”
Red rose is broadcast on BBC Three and can be streamed on BBC iPlayer.