Dir: Kevin Smith
When one thinks Kevin Smith movies, most often terms like witty, Funny,Silly , Smart, Dialog driven come to mind. Myself being a fan of Smith's films for the most part with the exception of a few (Jersey Girl,Chasing Amy), When I heard he had made a Horror film I was kind of curious to see how that would pan out and to be honest, He did a pretty decent job. Although I'm not sure that Red State is really a Horror movie per say, It does have a much darker tone than any of his previous works.
The film opens up in a small town where tolerance is not really high priority as protesters are picketing the funeral of a young gay high school student. After this public display we are introduced to the main characters , a group of teens that attend the local high school. One night Randy meets a older woman online and sets up a intimate meeting of sorts as she requests he and his two friends meet her for a foursome.
Being horny teenagers they quickly agree and after Randy borrows his parents car the trio head out to a nearby ranch town called Coopers Dell which is notorious for the religious fanatics lead by Albin Cooper. Along the way the kids have a mild fender bender where the towns sheriff is receiving oral sex from a man. After the kids leave the scene the Sheriff , worried about his reputation sends out a A.P.B. on their vehicle in order to hush them in case they caught anything he was doing.
Upon arrival at the woman's trailer the boys are a bit disappointed as she is not as attractive as they had hoped but the woman provides the kids with some beers to take the edge off and get them in the mood. Shortly after the drinks the young men realize they have been poisoned right before they all pass out. \
Randy wakes up to find himself locked in a small cage, And he catches a glimpse from under his sheet to find he is being held captive in a church where Albin is providing a sermon about sexual deviants and homosexuals. He then sees a man tied to a cross with plastic wrap and Albin goes on about the mans sinful lifestyle for being gay and how he believes they are the cause of all disease and sexual deviant behavior. Randy is then forced to witness the gay man being shot in the head execution style and thrown in a trap door that leads to the basement where Randy's two friends Billy Ray and Travis are being held captive and bound together. The church then turns their focus on Randy and tie him up to the cross next as he pleads for his life. Outside of the compound a police officer notices the car he was sent out to find and arrives at the gate. While Albin tries to distract the cop outside , Billy Ray and Travis manage to get untied and attempt to flee, while the chase continues ,The cop [re[ares to leave but hears a gunshot go off as one of the kids is shot down in the compound. Albin then disposes of the cop by shooting him and then he gets on the radio to inform the Sheriff of what he has done and warns him to leave them be as he has pictures and video of the Sheriff in compromising positions with several men. The Sheriff contemplates suicide but instead gets the idea of alerting the ATF about the actions of the Cult of Coopers Dell and After receiving clearance from the higher ups Agent Joseph Keenan sets up a stand off at the gates of the compound. With Billy Ray now dead and Randy still tied up in the church , Travis plays opossum and manages to flee for safety but once he reaches the gates, The Sheriff , Thinking he is one of the fanatics ends up shooting and killing Travis before the ATF can stop him. This sets off a chain reaction and the shit hits the fan from here n out as a huge shootout ensues.
The ATF is ordered to bust in and leave no one alive which puts Keenan in a rough spot as he does not want to harm the children inside but he decides to follow his orders.The shootout goes on for a long time while Randy is untied by a young women who tries to get him to help her in getting the children to safety. Unfortunately for them once they get out to alert the ATF of what is going on inside they are shot down in cold blood even though they were unarmed. At this point Albin and the remaining cult members come out in the open unarmed when they hear a loud sound coming from the heavens. The ATF is confused as to what it is and the religious nuts believe it is the angels coming to bring upon the rapture. As the two forces meet face to face the film fades to black. Moments later we learn that Agent Keenan was punished for not killing all of the cult members but for getting the job done clean he is actually promoted as the government has other plans for the Cult of Coopers Dell. Keenan is sent to Washington to work for the big guys as we see Albin Cooper pacing in his cell and singing religious tunes.
All in all this was a pretty interesting film. I however do not see what all the fuss was about as it seems to have caused quite a bit of controversy among Christians and conservatives. Throughout the film there are subtle signs of Kevin Smith's trademark humor in some of the dialog but this one is a real departure from his norm. Like I stated before when I heard Smith had made a Horror flick I was curious but honestly although it is much different than all his other works and much more serious in tone, I would not classify this as Horror by any means, As I felt it was more of a suspense/Drama/Action film as a large portion of the movie was a huge gunfight between the ATF and the Coopers Dell Cult. The film in many ways could be looked at as a take on Religious nuts like the Waco Texas Incident and it is believable that something like this could happen and honestly has in the past.All the actors portray their characters extremely well and are believable and were all written very well which does not surprise me as I feel Smith is great at his job, and this movie just goes to prove he does in fact have range as a director/screen writer. Do not go into this film expecting fart jokes and Bestiality however because you will be sadly disappointed at the lack of Smith's trademark humor and odd conversations. I have to say I was pleased with this film and it is nice to see something other than a remake being made in these times where theaters and video stores are flooded with remakes and rehashes of old ideas.
Overall:7 out of 10