Red State
Zach Davis

Directed by Kevin Smith

Starring: Michael Parks, John Goodman, Michael Angarano, Kerry Bishe, Nicholas Braun, and Kyle Gallner

Red State marks Kevin Smith’s first stab at a horror story, and it delivers a chilling blow.   A complete departure from his Jersey based comedies, Red State delivers characters in no way akin to Jay and Silent Bob.  Instead, Red State opens up a world with extreme Christian fundamentalists and their views on cleansing the world of sinners.
High school student Jared (Kyle Gallner) has been talking to an older woman (Melissa Leo) through an on-line sex site.  He tells two of his friends about her as well as the fact that the woman wants him to bring friends.  Blinded by the potential of sex, the boys set out to meet this woman, and nothing will stop them on their quest, not even an accident in which they side swipe another vehicle.  They soon arrive at the woman’s trailer, and she promptly tells them to drink a couple beers to get into the mood.  After realizing they have been drugged, the boys wake up inside a fundamentalist church at the hands of the insane Cooper family, led by the eldest Abin Cooper (Michael Parks).  To add to the suspense, the car that the boys side swipe earlier is that of the town sheriff.  Naturally, he sends out his deputy to look for the boys’ car.

The cast in Red State is phenomenal, starting with an outstanding performance by Michael Parks as the sociopathic, leader of the fundamentalist family.  He delivers a character that seems to be somewhere between Charlie Manson and Jim Jones.  With his family wrapped around every one of his words, he could stretch them into the twisted world he himself created.

Melissa Leo is definitely one of the best actresses out there right now after her recent Oscar win for The Fighter, and she does not disappoint here.  She plays Sara, the siren of the boys and daughter of Abin.  Her performance in this movie is on another level and drives home the insanity that can inhabit a person with faith in a false preacher such as her father.

Red State really keeps the pace going through the entire movie and delivers a chilling study on the motives for murder.  The end drags out a bit, but overall this movie is a must watch if you are a fan of good suspense.  I give it a 0.03% as a couple of wine coolers are all that is needed to get through the flick.