Tuesday, October 23, 2012
This is my favorite of the "Red State" teaser posters that I saw when the movie was first being advertised around the Internet. I don't know what it is, but people covered with sheets like this creep me out. seriously, like scenes in movies that involve sheets being draped over people like this really bother me. Yes, even when it's supposed to be funny, like in "Beetljuice" (which might be the culprit, since I saw that one when I was little and it gave me nightmares). So anyway, I saw this picture and had absolutely no idea what to expect from this movie, and this poster doesn't help (which I think was the idea, I think the marketing team wanted to keep people off base, and really, this movie is such a hodgepodge of different genres that I don't know if you could express it in one image anyway). So this image haunted me, and it made me want to see the movie more, which I already wanted to see it anyway, because it's a Kevin Smith movie AND it's a horror movie, so it was combining two of my favorite things together in one big cinematic experience.
And I honestly don't know where to go from here. I feel like I owe it to you, my readers, to give you a worthwhile review of this movie, since you bothered to come here and check it out. I will say that this movie intrigued me, and it pissed me off, and it grossed me out, and it made me wince several times, and it even made me jump (loud noises get to me). I was annoyed with the three main characters, the three teenage boys who start this movie by trying to hook up with a woman they meet on Craigslist for sex (HELLO, have they NEVER seen a horror movie in their lives? Or even heard of one?) I wanted to punch them in the face, but considering the horror that they face because of their idiotic decision, I suppose scolding them would be redundant. Once the kids run afoul of a religious cult, things start to get ugly.
This part of the movie is the part that pissed me off, and it's not really Kevin Smith's fault. I like how he at least played it straight here instead of trying to make the religious service "comic relief" type funny. I would have been even MORE pissed at that, because I kid you not, I heard almost the exact sermon from this movie preached at many of the churches I attended when I was younger, some sentences actually preached word for word like what this pastor says, and it bugs me sometimes when people act like it's funny that people actually BELIEVE and TEACH this stuff. I sat in on a Sunday school class where the teacher told us that her seven year old daughter asked if God was going to burn the United states like he burned Sodom and Gomorrah because they accepted homosexuality, and she told her daughter yes, and they prayed for God's judgement to come upon this country soon, and she said that she wished we all could have faith like that child. No, I don't find that funny. At all. So yes, that part of the movie was definitely horrifying for me. I never saw anyone saran-wrapped to a cross, but the churches I attended would be patting themselves on the back because they DIDN'T do any of that "violent" stuff, completely missing the point that rhetoric and words ARE violence when they cut as deeply as some of the messages I grew up hearing. I still hear them sometimes today, echoing in my head and in my dreams at night. Talk about horror.
Moving right along, the movie's second act rolls around and we get to meet an FBI agent played by John Goodman, who is one of my favorite actors. I grew up watching him on TV, and he was the perfect choice for this character. He is kind of disillusioned but still believes in doing the job he's been assigned to do, even if he thinks the orders are bullshit (because sometimes they are). The movie falters some here in the second half, because it kind of feels like it's sitting around twiddling its thumbs and not sure where to go next, but it gets back on track, and I never really lost my interest. I can say this is one movie that kept me riveted, yelling at the screen and pissing off my cat throughout the entire film. There's enough gore here that I would place this movie in the "horror" category, though it certainly has a lot of action elements and dramatic elements as well. It definitely paints a bleak view of humanity as well, and while it perhaps relies a little too much on a narrative wrap-up at the end to sum everything up, it's still worth checking out for what it gets right, and it stands as one of my favorite movies that I've watched for the horror challenge this year.