Friday, October 28, 2011

Red State - DVD Review

** 3/4

Starring Michael Parks, Michael Angarano, John Goodman, Melissa Leo, Kyle Gallner, Stephen Root, Kerry Blisse, Kevin Pollak, Kevin Alejandro and Nicholas Braun. Directed by Kevin Smith.

If only Kevin Smith hadn't lost his mind a bit there after the debacle known as Cop Out. Smith was one of those seemingly break-out writer-directors of the 1990's with Clerks, but he's never really grown up and stretched himself. Until now.

Having said that, it's an imperfect double-feature of a movie. The first half feels like a horror movie, with horny teens kindapped by bloodthirsty fanatics, but the second half turns into a siege picture, with the ATF surrounding the compound. First half in House of 1000 Corpses, second half is Waco: The Untold Story.

At the center is pastor Abin Cooper (Michael Parks), a fanatic mixed between Fred Phelps and the ghoul from Poltergeist II. He protests funerals of gays and believes the majority of Earth is going to hell, but he also believes that killing sinners is godly. Three teens answering a prostitute's ad learn this the hard way.

Parks gives an oily, serpentine performance as the mellifluous preacher. In fact, several cast members stand out. And Smith stands out. For the most part it doesn't sound like his writing or look like his directing. He's stretched himself here in new and interesting ways. It may be a flawed thriller where Smith seems to be trying to score points with certain demographics, but he has me genuinely interested in what he might try next.

No comments: