[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B005VEFHQ2][/pullquote] A film encapsulating all that’s wrong with religion, Red State throws together sex, sinners, guns and gore with dark black comedy. Kevin Smith, the silent half of Jay and Silent Bob and the foul-mouthed director and prolific podcaster uses his slightly twisted sense of humour to test the horror boundaries. A small hick town in the United States and its residents find themselves shamed on a regular basis because of the 5 Point Church, its followers and the founding Father Abin Cooper (Michael Parks). Demonstrations at funerals of the dead gay community fill up their social calendar, whilst the rest of the time is spent abiding by the strictly ˜Christian’ lifestyle as well as listening to Abin’s absurdly entertaining yet sick spiels. The man talks and his people listen, devout doesn’t begin to describe it, think James Jones. Unfortunately for three sex-crazed teens, their skirt chasing ways lead them into a spot of bother in Red State, i.e. a trailer park in the middle of nowhere with a ˜lonely’ middle aged women. Praying Mantis eat your heart out. After consuming many illegal alcoholic beverages they wake to find themselves in bible belt hell. What ensues is a fight for their lives, the psychotic religious sycophants believe killing homosexuals is the best way to reach the pearly gates. God, in this case will see the cleansing of the sinful population of Hicksville as Christian work, clearly the only logical way to reserve a place in heaven.
While calamity carries on inside their Alcatraz style compound the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms division) arrive with John Goodman leading the small ensemble of men. After being informed of the crazy hypnotic hillbilly preachers’ antics they organise damage control. The Chief of Police however fires a accidental shot, and all hell breaks loose. Kevin Smith brings in an excellent cast with Michael Parks playing the antagonist, man of God, with sinister charm. He draws in the audience with his smooth southern swagger and absurd ideas.
John Goodman, now older and usually casted in less controversial films, suited this role. His immediate presence on screen proved his an old school pro, his years of experience in the acting game shined through. The three young protagonists depict typical small town teens, wishing for bigger and better not glum and insular lives. Billy-Ray, Jarod and Travis sound like the next Kings of Leon yet the actors nail the roles. Tension rolls in waves as the reality of their unlucky situation of Red State sinks in.
Terrified, nervous and confused emotions flow from Red State to the audience throughout the hour and a half of insane ramblings, blood splattering death and quirkiness. The cast definitely added credibility to Mr. Smith’s latest project as the plot was fairly simple, slightly lacking depth.