Visceral and harrowing, Red State is an exceedingly well-crafted religiously-themed horror movie. It’s coming from the same guy who brought us Dogma, Kevin Smith. He decided to go back to his roots with this one, making an indie horror movie about morality. It follows a group of teenagers looking to have group sex when they end up in a totally different situation. You can already see one of the scourges of our time, premarital sex, rearing its ugly head.
Red State has the body of your classic horror movie, a bit predictable and bloody. But it has the mind and heart of a disturbing drama. A drama that hits really hard when you realize that things you see in the movie could really happen in real life. It’s also a stunning character study, focusing its attention on a charismatic preacher with some crazy ideas. And while the Five Points Trinity Church is fictional, you can see how it resembles various religious organizations all over the world.
Westboro Baptist Church is one of them for sure and you can bet your sweet ass they were at the premiere of this movie with their signs and everything. And I bet you can name at least two cult incidents off the top of your head right now. And while some people didn’t like the perhaps overwritten speeches by our pastor Abin Cooper, I fucking loved them! Michael Parks gave one hell of a performance here as the man you don’t want anywhere near you. He was a true force of nature. And the sermon he gives practically lists everything WBC believes in.
Our young and likable cast also did a terrific job. You could empathize with them and this made the whole movie even more intense. And I’m sure you’re going to recognize most of the supporting cast, as they’re all excellent and veteran actors. However, I must single out Melissa Leo, whom I still remember from Homicide: Life on the Street. Red State even has a couple of funny moments, providing a much-needed break from all the horror and action. With the running time of eighty minutes, it unfolds at a pretty brisk pace so you won’t be bored at any point.
Travis, Jarod, and Billy Ray are three teenagers looking for sex, as all teenagers do. They just struck gold because an older woman just offered to have sex with all three of them. Thinking with their little heads, they accept this offer and hastily make their way to her trailer. And wouldn’t you know it, Sarah is real and she actually wants to have sex with them. However, what happens next is something they couldn’t have imagined in their worst nightmares…
I have to say that I’m quite partial when it comes to movies dealing with religion. And Red State is one of the better ones. It also manages to fire some shots at the state and its incompetence. However, I think that these issues of morality and the official system of values are the most important ones. Who would think that a movie like this could be thought-provoking? Thanks to Kevin Smith’s realistic and witty dialogues, you immerse yourself into the story. What follows is a rude awakening to the frightening reality we all live in. So, I urge you to check out Red State, one of the most underrated movies I have ever seen.
Director: Kevin Smith
Writer: Kevin Smith
Cast: Michael Parks, Michael Angarano, John Goodman, Kevin Pollak, Nicholas Braun, Ronnie Connell
Fun Facts: The soundtrack for Red State consists solely of the songs people actually sing in the movie.