I finally watched a good horror movie! One that wasn't on SyFy! Aren't you proud of me?
As big of a Kevin Smith fan as I am, I can't believe that it took me so long to get around to watching it. That leaves me with just Jersey Girl (not likely) and Cop Out (which I watched half of and forgot to finish) to watch. Since I've had kids, it's like I have a 2-3 year delay on most movies I want to watch, unless either the kids or my husband REALLY want to see it. Even though my BFF had already watched Red State without me, she was happy to watch it again to humor me...
Smith took a page from the Tarantino playbook - there are absolutely no redeeming characters in the entire film. Of course you're rooting against the Coopers, but not because you're rooting FOR the kids or ATF Agents. You're rooting against the Coopers because their values are fucked up, but the kids and the ATF Agents are fucked up, too - just not as fucked up as the Coopers. That's where the real horror lies...not in dumb kids getting into a deadly situation because of their dicks, or not even in a wicked sort of Christian evangelicism in which luring and murdering "sinners" is seen as "God's work", but in all of them (and us, by extension) living under a government with a "leave no witnesses" ethos. That, my friends, is the world we are living in NOW and it's not a result of 9/11. Remember Waco?
Michael Parks KILLED it as Fred Phelps-like Pastor Abin Cooper. Michael Parks has been around a long time, but has gained a following in the past few decades as Tarantino and Rodriguez have added him to their stable of regulars. I knew him as Jean Renault in Twin Peaks, but also from his records. My dad had a Michael Parks record - Closing the Gap. I guess he was a fan of Along Came Bronson? Michael Parks actually put out a record of the songs he sang in Red State. I'm a soundtrack girl, but that is not going on my wish list anytime soon.
Kevin Smith plays by his own rules. Finally disenchanted with the mechanics of Hollywood distribution, Smith bypassed them all and distributed the film himself....and it worked. He made a fine film that his patrons, the Weinsteins, passed on - and got it directly into the homes of his fans via the internet and On Demand. And now he's gonna make Clerks III. Not that it won't be funny as fuck, but I'd rather see more of his horror at my house, than Jay and Silent Bob in the theater. Just sayin'.