A group of teenagers set out for a night of debauchery but end up in the arms of Christian fundamentalists in Kevin Smith’s Red State. As a long time fan of Kevin Smith’s work Red State has been on the top of my to see list since it was first announced. One of my all time favorite writer/directors tackling my favorite genre how could I not instantly be filled with excitement that can only be compared to being a child on Christmas morning ripping away colorful paper to reveal the hottest new toy. As of today September 1st you can sit down in the comfort of your own home and watch Red State via VOD for 10$ in most cases and that is exactly how I just spent my afternoon.
After waiting for what seemed like forever to finally get to view Red State there was a part of me that worried I set the bar to high for the film by over hyping it in my head for so long. After all was said and done, I have to say this film delivers and does so in an impeccable manner. Red State is a textbook example of a total package movie experience. For starters, this film features a performance from legendary John Goodman as Joseph Keenan head of an ATF unit that deserves some award nominations. Always a great actor Mr. Goodman was at the top of his game in Red State and really steals the show with this spot on portrayal of his character and the precision of his delivery in every scene he is a part of.
Next we have a original and relatable script that takes the tested and proven route of using current day politics and fears to create a authentically disturbing viewing experience much in the vein of George Romero’s original dead trilogy. Red State starts off feeling like a classic exploitation / slasher in the making with teen boys out to get some tail scenario unfolding in front of your eyes but instead it takes a clever twist setting up a very high tension and unnerving piece of cinema. Picture Leatherface and his family of psychopaths’ only instead wholesome ultra religious church folk who take their love and fear of god to unspeakable heights of insanity. This should give you a clear image of the members of Cooper Dell’s most devout and violent church. Dialog heavy as with any Kevin Smith film Red State shines with a never boring experience that honestly at times leaves you with a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach when you stop and think to yourself that people like this exist in our society. These are not just movie magic villains created on a piece of paper by a writer. No this evil is real and far more terrifying than any hockey wielding mad man or giant green scaled monster from the stars as it could very well turn up in your own town.
Intolerance is still one of the biggest factors that plague us a humankind and Kevin Smith takes this and transforms it into a film that will not be soon forgotten and should be viewed at least once by any fans of cinema and I’m not talking just genre fans expecting a run of the mill horror film. To be clear Red State is light on the horror and comes off more as a thriller / drama hybrid with traces of Smiths signature sense of humor here and there including a end sequence that I felt summed up the entire movie perfectly.
Light on the gore and heavy on story Red State is one of my favorite movies from 2011 so far and it makes the wait for Smith’s next project Hit Somebody even more painful. If you are looking for an intelligent and honestly unsettling movie look no further than Red State, on behalf of The Liberal Dead I give Red State a high recommendation and don’t feel a number score does it justice so trust me on this one and go out and watch Red State.