Red State is a movie that I have been wanting to revisit recently. It isn’t just because I’m a huge Kevin Smith fan but it’s mostly because I wanted to see how scary it would feel with the country the way it is now. I had quite the time finding it when I started looking for it recently. That has to do with it being linked Weinstein, which led to complications in the last few years. It seems to be easier to find outside of the US but that’s not helpful to me and my basic tech.
This was Kevin Smith’s first proper foray into horror movies. He’s gone on to do Tusk, which is another horror movie, but a more subtle one than this movie was. This having been made eleven years ago, actually premiering eleven years ago at Sundance, feels like it could be made now and some of the aspects would seem like they were downplayed as to not seem so over the top. That does have to do with acting in the movie.
Red State is really Michael Parks’ movie, even though there are other performances that deserve praise. Parks is bone chilling as the preacher in charge of the extremist church. The way he preaches and recites biblical passages will leave a chill in you after it runs down your spine. Michael Angarano, Kerry Bishé, Nicholas Braun, Kyle Gallner, John Goodman, Melissa Leo, Kevin Pollak, and Stephen Root all-star in the movie. You spend the most time with Goodman, Bishé, and Gallner in the movie. Some of the younger actors in the movie I knew from scattered roles but have gone on to do more after being in Red State. At the time it first came out I knew Bishé from the ill received spin off season of Scrubs and I knew Gallner from being in Smallville. That’s not even going into the other actors in the cast that have more supporting roles that are well known now.
The stunt team in Red State did an amazing job. The amount of crazy looking falls that are done in the movie is surprising. That’s not to mention the amount of squibs that go off throughout the movie. There’s also the CG effects in the movie that look really good. They aren’t lingered on, which helps them look great. There’s not really any score for the movie, relying solely on diegetic music. That ends up being mostly hymns sung in the church.
Red State is a hell of a movie that feels even more prescient today. Rewatching Red State has made me wish that Kevin Smith would make more horror movies. Both of the horror movies that he has made have been so different and tap into different aspects of horror. Like I mentioned in the beginning you can’t find it streaming anywhere and you have to look on eBay to find it without paying an astronomical price for it, but if you can find it for cheap, I recommend you getting it. I give Red State 8.5 painted church pianos out of 10.