Red State is a very dark movie and it was especially surprising coming from writer director Kevin Smith who is known for raunchy comedies like Clerks and Mall Rats, then he comes out with Red State and shocked everybody who saw it. It was the subject of an extreme guerilla marketing campaign and as a result is very underrated and relatively unknown by the general public.
The movie begins as a typical Kevin Smith film as a comedy with a trio of high school students but things take a seriously dark turn. Red State is considered a horror movie, but not in the traditional sense. The horror doesn’t stem from masked killers or paranormal beings, it comes from real world horror.
The horror in this film comes from a crazy church family who are inspired by the Westboro Baptist Church, only taken further. While it may not be creepy, Red State is certainly harrowing.
Reasons to watch Red State
Surprising: Red State is one of the few recent films that has been capable of actually surprising it’s audience. This film is unpredictable and will continue to shock you throughout the course of the film. Most films have a dramatic build up to the death of a main character, this film kills off it’s characters in a shockingly realistic manner. It is genuinely surprising when these characters die.
The Cast: You have John Goodman who is always great and does a really interesting job with his character in this. Then you have Michael Parks and his son who have appeared side by side in the Tarantino and Rodriguez films as Quick Draw McGraw and Son number 1. Michael Parks absolutely kills it as the main antagonist. He delivers one of the longest monologues in cinema history and makes every word riveting. You also have Melissa Leo as one of the main church members who really chews up the scenery like she always does, but it works for this character, unlike in “Olympus Has Fallen” when it was actually kind of funny. You can also find Stephen Root and a couple “Breaking Bad” cast members, Skyler and Badger both play small roles.
Kevin Smith: It’s worth watching the movie even just to settle your curiosity on what a Kevin Smith horror film is like. Much to many people’s surprise he does a great job branching away from comedy. His writing is great and he uses a number of inventive camera techniques that add greatly to the experience of the film. Also another little thing worth noting is the films lack of music. The only music in the movie is source, meaning it comes from somewhere within the scene, whether it be off a radio or played on a piano in the room. This adds to the intensity of certain scenes and heightens the experience.
Red State was a shockingly good film, don’t let it go unnoticed in your household.