RED STATE shows you don’t have to cross an ocean to run into maniac zealots, just a state line (or a drive cross-town). Directed & written by Kevin Smith, this 2011 indie horror gripper sees a few ordinary horny teenage guys (‘Jarod’, ‘Travis’ and ‘Billy Ray’) taking a chance on Internet-advertised sex, and winding up in a home-grown Americana hell via the ‘Five Points Trinity Church’.
Lesson: sex, beer and a motor home will always get you in trouble! As the trio discover their mistake, the ATF closes in on the militant fundies. Unapologetically bloody and often coarse, the movie has an Oscar-caliber, career-high performance from Michael Parks as the batshit nuts leader of the congregation that seeks the boys as sacrifices. He’s sensationally creepy. Also effectively out-to-lunch is Melissa Leo as the pastor’s daughter and spiritual ‘momma’ to the inbred clan.
With John Goodman, Kyle Gallner, Kerry Bishe, Micahel Angarano, Nicholas Braun, Ralph Garman, Kevin Pollak and James Parks (son of Michael).
The good folks at the Westboro Baptist Church were not amused by the film, reason enough to watch. Even with a low-budget of $4,000,000 the nervy little chiller failed to find an audience, only grossing $1,875,000. I wouldn’t call this exactly fun, but Parks, fired up as never before at a ripe 71, is so good it hurts.