Three friends answer an ad for wild sex and end up
kidnapped by a psychotic sect of religious extremists.
Red State (2011)
Written and Directed by Kevin Smith
Starring Michael Parks, John Goodman, Kyle Gallner,
Michael Angarano, Nicholas Braun, Melissa Leo,
Stephen Root, Kaylee DeFer, Kevin Pollak
Red State is so far outside of Kevin Smith's usual fare of nerdy comedy, and really shows the darkest aspects of American religious fundamentalism. It's really two films that bleed into one another. One is a horror film about three naïve high schoolers trolling for freaky sex and getting kidnapped by psycho super Christians. The other is a Waco-style crime thriller led by John Goodman as an ATF agent ordered to do the unthinkable. Together, you get an unforgettable, disturbing, all too real horror thriller that showcases religious extremism at its absolute scariest. And the craziest part? This shit happens all the time.
Somewhere in the Midwest, three teenagers get duped into what they think is a foursome with an older woman (Leo). In truth, they're kidnapped by Abin Cooper (Parks), head of the Five Points Church and bona fide cult leader. Cooper plans to sacrifice the kids to his right-wing God, but the ATF arrives first after Cooper shoots a cop in cold blood. ATF Agent Keenan (Goodman) is ordered to kill everyone in the church, including hostages, so nobody can paint the ATF as the bad guy. Everyone still remembers the Waco siege. So, suddenly, the line between good and evil gets blurred and your sympathy gets displaced. Add to that a truly biblical ending, and you've got something that deserved way more attention.
When you look at Kevin Smith's entire filmography, you really start to realize how diverse he is. His comedy films speak for themselves, but his horror output is worth checking out. Red State is upsetting because of how accurate and real it is. Domestic terrorism, particularly religious extremism, is terrifying and, in my opinion, not taken as seriously as it should be. Films like this show audiences a worst case scenario.