Has anyone else here seen that new-ish Kevin Smith flick Red State? I just watched it and am scratching my head as to what to think of it.
First reaction was "huh?" Not as in "I can't comprehend what I just saw," but rather "What exactly was Smith trying to get across with this film?"
None of the characters were particularly deeply developed. Some scenes dragged while others seemed glossed over. Certain typical horror movie tricks (gritty camera work, flickering fluorescent lights, action sequences that look like they were filmed with a strobe light, etc.) were overused. And, overall, while it was billed as a horror flick, it didn't have the feel of any other horror flick I've ever seen before. No creepy crawlies, no aliens, no monster under the bed, no psycho killer in a mask.
I'll admit, I cheated and tried to look up other people's reviews on Netflix to see what I was missing. The very first one shown is the one that got the most "useful" ratings, and it's either spot-on or made up. The horror of the movie isn't in a monster or a psycho killer or an alien or whatever. It's in everyday things that are involved in our lives. Teenagers make stupid decisions that sometimes have horrific consequences. Extremists make even more stupid decisions that have even more horrific consequences. And the government ... well ... they take the cake. Is that the horror Smith was aiming for? If so, then maybe he did achieve what he set out for. I'm not entirely convinced, though. I feel like that explanation could be a too-convenient Scrotie McBoogerballs situation (South Park fans will get the reference).
One way or another, it is definitely a very, VERY vast departure from what anyone familiar with Smith's work would come to expect from him. It takes courage to swing at something that isn't in your wheelhouse. I'm not enough of a film buff to say for sure whether or not he knocked this one out of the park, but it definitely held my interest, and it must have been entertaining because those 88 minutes felt like 30.
Yeah I watched this a few weeks ago.
I wasn’t aware it was billed purely as a horror movie to be honest. I thought it was supposed to be a sort of Action or Thriller movie with a twist. I think a lot of the "Huh" might come from trying to place it into a genre. After tying to work out what sort of film it was, I decided it wasn't really that important and tried to just accept it for what I had seen.
I agree with a lot of what you are saying, but in some cases I think it was intentional. Without giving anything away to anyone who has the intention of watching the film, I think that certain characters were underdeveloped so it was a surprise when they became the focus of the story. Well that’s certainly the feeling I got from it anyway.
A lot of the shock and I guess the horror of it comes from the movie not playing out at all how you would expect it. I think Smith was hoping people would try and start second guessing what was going to happen, or looking for the horror movie cliché , and then got a shock when the sequence of events didn’t follow the well establish path horror movie “path”, so to speak. Also I guess a lot of the horror comes from the fact that there aren’t any monsters, these are supposed to be real people, and it makes it slightly more plausible and realistic over say, a 20 foot alien with acid for blood. Also the level of violence towards what we perceive as innocent people with such calculated conviction can also be pretty horrific. I am not sure the Scrotie McBoogerballs argument rings true for me because if that’s the case, I didn’t find it that horrifying for the sake of being horifying, Saw and Hostel fall into that category, I don’t think this does.
Also I might be reading into it way too much but with the ending, particular what happens to John Goodman, the maybe Smith was trying to point out that although the churchgoers were clearly crazy, that some of what they were saying in terms of the loss of morality (obviously not to the extent which they were preaching) in modern times might be true, particularly with some of the comments and actions of the senior FBI members and their actions. Sort of like two sides to every coin? The same could be said for the government agents. But like I said that was just my own feeling, and that might be at a push just trying to make some sense out of what I saw.