07 November 2011

Movies: Red State

Red State (2011) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0873886/

Horror / Thriller

Set somewhere in Middle America, three students find a guaranteed hook-up via a Craigslist-style message board over the internet. Instead of a promised threesome with an in-her-30s hotbody they find themselves on the wrong end of a local fundamentalist church's attention. Think Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) meets Branch Davidians (Waco, TX).

It's no secret, but probably not well-known, that I like Kevin Smith movies, granted some more than others. But this is a new direction for Kevin Smith, horror instead of the comedy/dramadies he's been making. I liked the result.
Sure there's some issues in pacing and tone, but the whole of the flick is enjoyable despite them. A 'sum is greater than the parts' sort of thing.

It has a great cast for the most part, especially Michael Parks knocking it out of the park as he tends to do in any production he's a part of. If you're unsure of who Michael Parks is, you might recall him as Texas Ranger Earl McGraw in "From Dusk Till Dawn", "Kill Bill Vol 1", "Death Proof" and "Planet Terror". Or as Estiban in "Kill Bill Vol 2". Heck, Parks has been in tons of stuff, not just Tarantino and Rodriguez flicks. But he gets roles that really let him shine from those guys, and now Kevin Smith. A good solid actor. The cast also includes Anna Gunn ("Breaking Bad"), ever great Stephen Root, John Goodman, Kevin Pollak, Melissa Leo. Kevin Smith assembled a lot of good solid actors for the film and they don't disappoint.

Even more enjoyable is that not only did WBC protest the film's premier at Sundance, but they attended a screening that Kevin Smith invited them to, and they walked out about 20 minutes into the film. Awesome. Apparently a couple of ex-WBCers saw the film and complimented Smith on how realistic some aspects of the religious fanaticism in the film was depicted.

The movie unfolds in non-traditional ways in some aspects, goes places I wasn't expecting, and messes with the generally expected "hero/villain/protagonist/antagonist" story dynamic. And in general it's pretty messed up, so I like it.

If'n y'all don't fancy violence n such, or want monsters in your horror films, this might not be to your liking. Then again, it does feature the worst monsters of all. People. People coupled with fanaticism. And if you think the fanaticism is only happening in the wacko fundie's camp you're missing part of the film.

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