Known for slacker comedies such as Clerks, Dogma, and Zack & Miri Make A Porno, director Kevin Smith has forayed into the horror genre with Red State in a big way. Dealing with the very controversial subject matter that is fundamental Christianity in America in the form of a horror film will surely turn heads and will offend plenty of people who may find this film too confronting. Even for those who won’t be offended by Smith’s view of people interpreting religious teachings the wrong way, it will shock and horrify them all the same.
Three teenage boys from a small town in middle America (Michael Angarano, Nicholas Braun, and Ronnie Connell) receive an online invitation for sex in a nearby rural area, and decide to meet up with the willing lady. They quickly learn that the invitation was a trap from a feared local fundamentalist Christian group who go to extreme lengths to preach the word of God. Just as the fundamentalists plan to execute the boys for acting on their lustful desires, the local police and the ATF quickly get involved, though they have their own sinister agendas.
The actions and views of the religious antagonists are really creepy, and while they can come across as over the top stereotypes at times, these characters are unfortunately still very believable. The fast paced editing of the chase and action scenes is exhilarating and will keep audiences hooked. Michael Parks and Melissa Leo are brilliantly creepy as the father and daughter who will go far to show their twisted devotion to God. John Goodman also stands out as the frustrated ATF team leader who is looking out for his own best interests rather than the lives of those the Church are holding hostage. Despite the bleak subject matter, there is also plenty of hilariously crude Kevin Smith dialogue, mainly when the boys talk about getting laid at the beginning of the film. The humour is refreshing as it pops up as the film gets more sinister and creepy.
Red State is a strong, bold horror film that is very in your face with issues such as corruption within both religion and the government. Despite these serious issues, the film is also a wild thrill ride that is terrifying and will keep audiences on the edge of their seats as they anticipate how this captivating ordeal will end.
Originally published at meapcareers.com.au on Saturday 15 October 2011