Red State (2011)

Kevin Smith's in a messy state

Set in Middle America, a group of teens receive an online invitation for sex, though they soon encounter fundamentalists with a much more sinister agenda.

The film begins by centering on a trio of teens who embark on a quest for sex, and expects us to care for them as their quest takes a sinister turn. Sadly, the lack of development fails to make us care, leaving these teens as merely one-dimensional characters.

There is potential within the plot and, despite a somewhat interesting turn it takes, the story decides to play it safe and stick to the 'crazy extremist cult' formula. That is the main problem with this film, the Five Points Trinity Church are portrayed as the typical 'crazy cult who will stop at nothing to fulfill their religious beliefs' you see in films and shows, with nothing setting it apart from the same idea which has been used many times prior, leaving it on a pretty dull note.
John Goodman's naked disco dancing definitely shocked them

It's a well acted film, but only Stephen Root and John Goodman manage to stand out, with the latter getting the films best - and only good - lines. I have the feeling Michael Parks would've stood out if he didn't mumble every word of the clunky dialogue that left his mouth. Its a shame to see only 2 actors truly standing out from a whole cast, considering the many talented faces who appear, but you can see they did well with what they had, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to make us care for the characters, leaving their deaths to not hold any weight to them.

Kevin Smith should be commended for attempting something different from his usual comedic fair, but it's just a shame he couldn't have done better work on the script or had Michael Parks spend time with a vocal coach.