Red State is Kevin Smith’s foray into the horror genre. Even though the film is listed as horror, it doesn’t really measure up to that description. There wasn’t really anything related to horror about it, I would classify it more in the thriller category. Here’s the breakdown:
The film is set in middle America and revolves around a religious organization / church(seemingly modeled around the Waco, TX cult some time ago). The group is set to cleansing the world of the sinners they lure into the church under false pretenses. In the background, a law enforcement agent is on the trail of the organization’s leader who’s been under suspicion for some time.
Things go south at the church compound when one of the victim’s escapes and a local sheriff is murdered when he gets a bit too close. From there the situation quickly devolves for everyone involved.
The story is ok without any real big surprises we haven’t seen before. For a Kevin Smith film I found it a bit pedestrian for him, I was hoping he’d take more chances with the writing but he kept it pretty much by the numbers. You may remember some news about this film when Smith debuted it at Sundance and then sold the film to himself for a dollar as he decided to self-distribute.
The acting lineup includes John Goodman, Melissa Leo and Stephen Root. The performances are ok but nothing to write home about, the whole film was pretty average.
Smith’s directing and writing are ok but he’s really just not a great thriller filmmaker as the film lacks intensity even though it includes a few unexpected moments built in for shock-factor.
It’s worth seeing but I wouldn’t go out of my way…
reviewed by Sean McKnight