Archive for Michael Angarano

Red State (2011)

Posted in Horror Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2012 by Pass the Popcorn!

Director: Kevin Smith

Writer: Kevin Smith

Tagline: Fear God

Plot: 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.

Cast: Michael Parks – Abin Cooper

Melissa Leo – Sara

John Goodman – Joseph Keenan

Kyle Gallner – Jarod

Michael Angarano – Travis


Red State is one of those movies that might just have worked if it had been directed by some anonymous indie director and not by a well established Hollywood director like Kevin Smith. Kevin Smith became popular in the 90’s with movies like Clerks, Dogma & Chasing Amy  but in the 00’s he really went downhill (especially after releasing Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) with pretty average movies like Jersey Girl, Clerks II & Zack and Miri Make a Porno (I didn’t see Cop Out because it received really bad reviews), and lately Red State which is, arguably, the last nail in the coffin of his career. Although Kevin didn’t release a really good movie in about 10 years I still think that his less successfull movies have interesting scripts which were well written. Unfortunately, I can’t say that about Red State. First of all, we’ve already seen Kevin deal with topics like religion and extreme violence in Dogma, so what was the point in making a clearly inferior movie with such similiarities to the cult classic? And second of all, the dialogue in Red State was just awful – and Kevin Smith is the guy who wrote some of the most memorable lines in 90’s cinema!

Honestly, when I started watching Red State I knew it wasn’t going to be the next Chasing Amy or something like that but I at least expected a fairly entertaining fun; instead I got this boring mixture of weak acting (except for Michael Parks who plays the pastor Abin Cooper, and maybe John Goodman in some scenes, although his real potential is overlooked), bland characters and pointless action scenes. The movie starts off as a psychological thriller with some survival horror influences only to turn into an action shoot out in the second act. And by time the audience is just following a one group of undeveloped characters trying to kill the other group of undeveloped characters, I find that to be horrendously boring. Despite the fact the first part of the movie was nothing new nor original I would have rather watched another wannabe torture porn movie than to be forced to watch this strange genre changing direction the movie has taken. The third, and the final, act of the movie was, I think, supposed to be some social commentary and possible criticism against the USA goverment (?), which could have been good if it had been following the movie’s pacing. Because of that, John Goodman’s final lines seem to come out of nowhere and noone can possibly take them seriously.

I don’t know why Kevin Smith decided to change the movie’s plot so violently and rapidly after the first act but it definitely seems forced, especially when you consider the fact that Red State’s duration is less than 90 minutes (and considering that no valid plot points happen in the first 20 minutes!). The direction of the movie is also not remarkable, in spite of some decent camera angles. It is really disappointing to see Kevin Smith go this low.

My Raing: 3/10… One of the most anticipated movies of the year (because I’m a really big 90’s Kevin Smith fan) turned to be one of the worst movies of the year. Forgetable characters, boring actors, and worst of all, a really bad script ruined it for me.