A few days ago I caught Kevin Smith's Red State, and I loved it. This is coming from someone who's not really a fan of Smith's work -- I certainly don't hate what I've seen by any means, but most of his movies leave me with no desire to see them more than once. The only one to date that I liked enough to buy was Zach & Miri Make a Porno.
That said, I really had no preconceived notions about what Red State would be. I was excited to hear he was making a horror film, but wouldn't go so far as to say I was awaiting it with bated breath. Then I saw the trailers, and my curiosity was piqued for sure. This was like a whole family of my own Holy Rollers! After folks finally got the chance to see Smith's much-talked-about first foray into the horror genre, the reviews started hitting the usual blog and review sites fast and furious. And they were very mixed reviews, overall. Most of them, I'd say, leaned toward the negative side*, or were at best lukewarm. So I decided I'd see Red State when it was finally released on DVD, but this was one that could go either way. I wasn't in any big hurry to check it out.
But check it out I did, earlier this week when I happened to be walking by a Redbox and saw that Red State was available for rental. I had no clue it had been released already. I immediately stepped up to the machine, slid my debit card, and carried the disc home.
And I loved it!
I'm not even gonna tell you any more about it. Just give it a look. If you're into horror films with an original premise and characters that aren't all black-and-white (because how many real people do you know who are all good or all bad?), I doubt you'll be disappointed. Red State is a dark, violent tale about people from all walks of life on different sides of a very timely conflict.
* (more often than not, the negative reviews mentioned how the film's narrative comes to a screeching stop at one point, as we are forced to listen to a long sermon from the demented Fred Phelps-like preacher at the heart of the story -- I disagree with the opinion that Smith's decision to do this is detrimental to the film, as I would have gladly sat through a monologue twice as long from a wonderful actor like Michael Parks! This is truly scary stuff, folks, and maybe it's just me but I found myself so enchanted by his calm, calculated delivery I could almost understand how some people allow themselves to be so easily brainwashed by these charismatic types)