31 Days of Reviews: Red State

I heard Netflix was getting rid of this one on November 1st, so I figured I should probably watch it. I’ve definitely heard enough about it.

To be as cut and dry as possible, the plot of this movie centers around three teenage guys who find a mystery woman online for a wild sexual night, only to fall victim to the extreme ideology of a cult like church.

Red State is written and directed by Kevin Smith, which I believe can say a lot about what to expect going into it. It’s shot in a faux-amateur style, meaning that it looks like a bad college film, but it’s done so eloquently that you can still see a ton of artistic value. It’s also chock full of social commentary.

Set somewhere in the south it would seem, Red State is full of religious zealots, with an anti-gay agenda, preaching about the internet as the devil’s playground and acting as God in who they deem worthy of life. Their extreme interpretation of the Bible doesn’t stop there. It extends to anything that isn’t explicitly praised in their holy scripture.

This movie is different in the way that it really extends the floor to the extreme religion. The movie has about 10 minutes of a complete sermon, completely shot in the style of old school propaganda with camera angles looking up to the pastor and sympathetic shots of women and children in the pews.

Quite frankly, I tuned out of what the pastor was saying and focused more on the camera work during this 10 minute segment. This movie was very upsetting to me on multiple levels. I couldn’t stand it.

What’s also interesting is that you really have no one to root for. There is no stereotypically good character. (Except the guy who just wanted to take his wife to Italy for their 5 year anniversary). You could argue that John Goodman’s character ends up being “good” and his final lines “People do the strangest things when they feel entitled, but they do even stranger things when they really believe”

Other than that, the religious extremists? Disgusting. The government? Deplorable. The three teens at the beginning? That just comes down to their personalities. They were innocent, depending on how you look at it (young, foolish, virgins), but their personalities were pretty abrasive. I guess it’s all up to your interpretation.

This movie is scary in the way that it reflects a level of truth about the extreme nature of our society. I don’t know if I would classify it as a horror film because there is so much more to it, but there are aspects that are scary to think about. Red State was a lot more than what I was expecting from what I had heard about it, but I understand why I was hearing about it so much.


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