Not satisfied with just being known as “the Clerks guy," Kevin Smith is branching out with his latest film, Red State, which now has a new, full-length, and agreably batshit trailer. More of a satirical horror film than the outspoken filmmaker's usual brand of slacker comedy, Red State feels a bare-bones, low-budget piece of near exploitation; in other words, unlike anything he's done to date.
The story focuses on a religious fundamentalist group that looks to spread their message of intolerance to the world by making a violent example out of three “impure” teenagers, which leads to a standoff with the authorities. A shit-ton of gunplay, bodies wrapped in Seran wrap, victims strung to crosses, and flames ignited through a bullets getting fired into a poor soul's scalp—no wonder Jay and Silent Bob wanted no part of this one.
Smith’s lambasting of Christianity is common ground for the director (see: 1999's Dogma), but the way he goes about it is much more brutal and straightfaced this time around. Smith seems to have taken some visual cues from the manic torture gore of Saw, and even weaves in offbeat humor. The controversial auteur may have finally turned a corner here after years of stagnant filmmaking; yes, we're still pissed off about Cop Out
Red State touts a pretty solid cast: Melissa Leo (who won an Academy Award earlier this year for The Fighter), Kevin Pollak, and John Goodman are all more than capable of adding depth to the flick, with Leo looking particularly unsettling as one of the religious cult’s more homicidal members. That type of wel- crafted acting is a luxury that Smith isn't used to from his days on Mallrats and Chasing Amy.
Expect to see a side of Kevin Smith that we have yet to witness before. We’ll just have to wait until the movie hits VOD on Labor Day Weekend (before a special event theatrical run throughout October) to find out whether or not that’s a good thing.
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