‘Red’ Ending Explained & 2024 Netflix Film Summary: Is Daniel Dead?


The 2024 Filipino thriller drama film streaming on Netflix, Red, or Pula, is esteemed director Brillante Mendoza’s latest work and is at times gory and violent, with an apt color tone that goes with the gloomy mood. Set in the district of Pola in the Philippines, where it rains heavily on a daily basis, the film’s plot follows the tragic death of a girl and its horrific repercussions on the lives of the villagers. Although Red might come off as too stretched or predictable, it still has a distinct South Asian flavor, and it would be relished by fans of such genre.

Spoiler Alert

What is the film about?

Red begins in a small village in the Pola district of the Philippines, on a dark and gloomy day, as heavy clouds circle the skies above. A young man, Jeff, helps an elderly lady named Ineng walk on the muddied path in the village, towards a house where something strange has been happening. Ineng happens to be the local village shaman, who has the powers to identify evil spirits and get rid of them. The elderly woman is, therefore, often consulted by villagers in need, and she is attending to such a call in this instance as well. A local woman, Rosal, has been seemingly possessed by some evil spirit that has been tormenting her and her parents for a few hours now, and it is with Ineng’s help that the problem is solved. Although Rosal survives her predicament and is quickly married off to her lover, Lando, Ineng cannot be at complete ease. The shaman seems to fear something odd and dangerous about to happen, the biggest indication of which is that she gets through the water in the local lake, turning red like blood.

Daniel Faraon is a sergeant in the district police department and has quite a good reputation among friends and family members. Daniel is hardworking and sincere, riding his motorcycle to work every day and helping out anyone he can along the way. He is married to his long-time sweetheart, Magda, and the couple has two young sons as well. Magda works as a teacher at the local school, where their sons are also students. This requires Daniel to drop off the three at the school every day in the morning, on his route to the police station, and he does so without any complaints. The recent discovery that Magda is pregnant once again excites Daniel a lot, as he wants a third son in life. However, things take a very different turn in the small village when dark clouds circle over the place one afternoon, making it seem almost like an eclipse. While no natural disaster strikes the place except for the heavy torrential rain that pours down every day, a strange discovery is made the next day. The relatively safe and quaint village is shaken by the dead body of a local girl, which turns the lives of some, including Daniel, totally upside down.

What actually happened to Patricia?

Red introduces Patricia fairly early on, as we see her going around the village with her boyfriend, Jeff. Both around fifteen years old, Patricia and Jeff do not have much idea about the world and are only engrossed in the idea of their love and romance. The couple is often seen roaming around, looking for any brief moments to share with each other, and they do not mind getting intimate in secluded but public places. As young individuals growing up in a mostly conservative society that is also religiously devoted to Christian values, they do not have much choice either. Therefore, their moments of cherished intimacy come only inside small shacks and thatched outhouses that they can find in farmlands and backyards. Patricia and Jeff often hide their acts and even their presence whenever anyone else walks by their romantic spots, while at other times, they are sometimes seen by neighbors as well. 

One such scene of their lovemaking is shown early in the film, when the youngsters take shelter from the rough weather and impending rain and eventually get physically intimate with each other. It is to be mentioned in this respect that the legal age of consent in the Philippines is 16 years, which was only recently increased from the earlier age of 15, in 2022. Therefore, the couple is not necessarily doing something gravely illegal, but their actions are naturally condemned from a religious and moralistic perspective. When a local woman in the neighborhood sees them sharing a few farewell kisses out in the open, she does so from hiding, almost as if witnessing something criminally offensive. Around this very moment, the police sergeant Daniel Faraon passes through the area and sees Patricia on the road, understanding all too well what she had just been up to.

Since the setting of this story is a small backyard village with deep religious beliefs, Patricia is naturally considered a sinner by the community because she gets physically involved with a man before marriage. While some villagers might be aware of this supposed sin of hers, nobody bothers much about it until the very antagonist targets her. Although Daniel is posed as the protagonist at the beginning of the film, he turns out to be an abhorrent criminal of an extremely perverse nature, and his perception of Patricia is extremely problematic. It is possible that the man had seen her a number of times accompanied by Jeff, and thus, she was an immoral woman with no values or rights whatsoever. To Daniel, defiling Patricia and attacking her modesty are not actions that require much thought, and he commits a horrific crime.

The only reason that can be thought of behind Daniel’s act, other than his perverse understanding of morality, is his relationship with his wife, Magda. For a number of days before the incident, Magda had been repeatedly turning down her husband’s sexual persuasions, always making some excuse at night. Eventually, she admits her pregnancy and states it to be the reason for her wanting to stay away from any intimacy, and Daniel is satisfied by this discovery. Although the real reason for Magda’s coldness is actually her illegitimate affair with the police chief, Raymond, Daniel does not get to know about this before he commits the crime.

Tired and frustrated by the judgments and restrictions placed against her, Patricia decided to unite with her lover with more certainty, and she and Jeff decided to elope. However, on the ill-fated day of their plan, Patricia had hidden a bag containing all her belongings near the local chapel, where she had gone with her parents for mass. Sneaking out of the chapel, she collected the bag and then started walking towards the meeting spot, but was met by Daniel on the way. The police sergeant asked where she was headed, and when Patricia lied that she was going to the chapel, he offered her a ride. Daniel’s real intention was set right then, and he took Patricia to a secluded spot near the river, much against her protests. He then forced himself upon her, choked her to death, and committed the act once again on the dead body. Daniel then buried Patricia’s body in the mud and left the scene, pretending as if nothing had happened.

How does Daniel learn about his wife’s infidelity?

Actions considered immoral by religion abound in the plot of Red, and it is possible to think that it is because of these sinful acts that chaos is unleashed upon the village, almost like a divine punishment. Daniel’s wife, Magda, has been involved in an extramarital affair for quite some time now, and her lover happens to be the very boss of her husband, the police chief, Raymond. The exact reason for the couple’s marriage failing is not mentioned, and the film is quite one-dimensional in this respect. It is almost as if Magda cheats on her husband only because she wants to, as the most probable reason, to be guessed by viewers, is financial betterment. The houses of Raymond and Daniel look starkly different, with the disparity between their incomes and overall wealth quite visible. It is probably because of this difference that Magda chooses an illicit lover and also desires to be with him in the long run of life. The woman is not sure whether the child in her womb is her husband’s or her lover’s, and this further makes her look more sinful. 

Daniel initially has no clue about his wife’s infidelity, which makes it absolutely impossible that he committed the rape and murder out of some feeling of grief or misdirected vengeance. When he attends the funeral service of Patricia, Magda suddenly falls sick and starts to bleed unnaturally, following which she has to be hospitalized. It is at the hospital that Daniel stumbles upon his boss, Raymond, embracing his wife, but decides not to act against them. Later, while sneaking through Raymond’s house, he finds certain proof of Magda’s affair, and the man is tremendously angered by it. Although his earlier crimes were not directly related to his wife’s affair, his next actions most definitely are.

What happens to Daniel Faraon in the end?

While the police investigation into the death of Patricia was going on, a local fisherwoman contacted the lady sergeant, Ramona, about a confidential report. She had actually seen Daniel at the spot of the incident on that day, digging a hole to bury the dead body in. When she lets Ramona know of this, even legally signing witness statements, the sergeant starts an investigation against Daniel, together with Raymond. At the end of Red, Daniel learns of his wife’s affair and completely loses control over his conscience. As he returns home, he receives a court summons as the lead suspect in the rape and murder case as well, meaning that there is nowhere else left for him to run. Out of fear, frustration, and anger, Daniel picks up his service guns and goes on a rampage in the village, killing whoever is in front of him.

All the police officials, including Ramona and Raymond, become his targets, and although Ramona shoots him fatally, nobody can stop Daniel. The man then walks out onto the street and kills Magda as well before shooting many more and stumbling his way toward the grave site of Patricia. Here, Daniel hallucinates Patricia in front of him and ultimately shoots himself dead, bringing an end to the unwarranted violence that had terrorized the village by now. The two sons of Daniel and Magda unfortunately wait by themselves back at home, without any idea that life would be so lonely from now on.

Does the supernatural exist in the world?

The most interesting aspect of Red, other than its slow-burn mystery style, is the ambiguity about the presence of the supernatural. There are a number of instances that suggest that the paranormal world does exist, and it sometimes converges with the mortal realm. To begin with, the powers of the local shaman, Ineng, and her ability to sense danger from before are mysterious. On the day of Patricia’s death, she appears in a physical form at her parents’ house, consoling them during their prayer. Although the parents cannot see the girl, the camera shoots her like a real person, alive and well. A little earlier, she was also seen arriving at the village square, where she was supposed to meet with Jeff and Elope. Although the two stand in the same place, quite close to each other, Jeff does not respond to her presence, as if he is unable to see her. This is because Patricia is actually dead by then, and it is her spirit form that we see, which the other characters cannot witness.

In Red‘s ending, Patricia is once again seen in spirit form, but now Daniel can see her and is evidently shocked by this development. It appears like Patricia uses her powers to turn Daniel’s hand towards his own face, making him shoot himself and commit suicide. However, there is most definitely a possibility that this presence of the supernatural is totally psychological. At the beginning of the film, when Ineng helps Rosal out of the possession, it is clearly a plan made by Rosal and her lover Lando to ensure that her family lets them marry. Her ability to sense things or her fear of something strange about to happen might not necessarily be paranormal.

Red‘s ending scene might be Daniel’s own guilty conscience troubling him, because of which he hallucinates the dead Patricia. He even tries to shoot at the apparition, but to no use, obviously, and his remorse is what makes him turn the gun to his own face and shoot. The only hint of something paranormal existing is the water in the river turning red, and even the children notice it. However, this might also be answered by the body of Daniel falling close to the river and the blood from it contaminating the river water. Ultimately, Red keeps the ambiguity between supernatural and psychological intact by the end, making it more satisfying to watch.

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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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