Kevin Smith steps his foot into horror territory with this politically tinged fright flick starring Michael Parks (From Dusk Till Dawn, Grindhouse) as a controversial Fred Phelps-ish reverend who brings his own brand of zealotry to a wayward group of teens. Smith directs from his own long-in-development script. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi
Director: Kevin Smith
Cast: Michael Parks, Melissa Leo, John Goodman, Kyle Gallner, Michael Angarano
Release Date: Jan 23, 2011
Rated R for disturbing content, some sexual content, strong violence, pervasive language and brief nudity
Runtime: 1 hr. 37 min.
Genres: Horror, Suspense/Thriller
You have to give Kevin Smith credit for stepping outside of the box and trying something different. Red State is a messy message movie that has Smith painting with really broad strokes, creating something that feels rushed and terribly underdeveloped. Watching Red State, you can see where Smith’s mind is but he never achieves a fully realized vision. Instead Red State is a choppy film that has strange tonal changes throughout, with some weird comedic asides. Wonderful character actor, Michael Parks, is placed front and center and Smith gives him free reign with the character which succeeds to varying degrees. Parks is impressive and mystifying in his opening appearance, a nearly 15 minute monologue/ sermon but as the film wears on he should have been reigned in a tad to avoid the caricature the ends the film. Smith has the scaffolding of a film dealing with religious zealots like Fred Phelps, Jim Jones or David Koresh but it turns into something closer to satire. John Goodman and his group of ATF agents are a prime example of this, playing more as types than actual characters. Melissa Leo and Stephen Root show up and barely register. The finale is an almost silly tangent into the bizarre that leaves you scratching your head wondering what Smith intention in this splatterfest was.