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Red State


Stars: John Goodman, Michael Parks, Melissa Leo, Michael Angarano, Molly Hagan, Matt Jones, Nicholas Braun, Ronnie Connell, Kaylee DeFer, Kerry Biché, Kyle Gallner

Director: Kevin Smith

Not sure why this strange B-movie hybrid is called Red State, but no matter. What starts off as a teens-in-peril chiller develops into a climactic shoot-out reminiscent of 'backwoods' gangster films of years gone by.

Three horny youths are tempted by an Internet invitation for sex. The woman (Leo) turns out to be a trifle more mature than they expected, but hey... Next thing they know, their beer is drugged and they awaken trussed up like Christmas turkeys, the helpless prey of the 'five pointers', a religious sect so right-wing (and armed to the teeth) that they've been denounced by US Nazis.

Their preacher and leader is Abin Cooper, played by Parks, a teen idol of the mid 1960s, but now looking like a cross between an aged Richard Branson and an emaciated Jeff Bridges, as he intones his non-stop, sing-song gospel of hate.

The boys' fate, despite attempts to escape, looks inevitable - until special agents led by podgy Goodman get wind of things and a million-bullet siege ensues.

It's the kind of film where characters are introduced, then later killed off quite arbitrarily and unexpectedly, Poor Kevin Pollak scarcely has time to blink before he's dispatched by an extremist's bullet. It's a typically enigmatic film from Kevin Smith that may, after all, be a comedy, albeit one in which few of its characters survive.

David Quinlan

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Entertainment-One. Colour (unspecified).
88 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 27 Sep 2011