Tuesday, March 17, 2015
"Red State": Kevin Smith puts together all the elements of right wing horror for teenagers and fibbies
The B-movie thriller, “Red State” (2011), by Kevin Smith, tries to present some of the paranoia of the extreme right in rural areas, in areas like homophobia, weapons, doomsday prophecy, the “sovereign nation” movement, the Rapture of the Believers, and Waco-style resistance to government.
The movie opens with a vulgar hate protest at a funeral of a gay man murdered in a small town in the California foothills (though the script is ambiguous as to location, suggesting in intermountain west in an inland empire state; I thought about Ameer’s “The House of Adam”). Three teenage boys respond to a social media ad for sex. On the way to a rendex-vous, they sideswipe a car. Once at the trailer for the “appointment”, they are drugged by the beers they drink, and wind up in captivity at a local “fundamentalist church”. Some torture, involving taping people up, ensues.
In the meantime, a local sheriff’s deputy (who may be gay himself) gets suspicious. The end result is an ATF standoff, that first reminds one of Waco in 1993. But this group is violent, and counterattacks against the ATF and FBI with an unbelievable barrage of assault weapons. The ATF also has to rescue the teens.
In this movie, unfortunately, “not all’s well that ends well”. There is even a horncall and a fake rapture.
The script mentions the anti-gay church in Kansas (the Westboro Baptist Church) but is careful to say this group (the Five Points Trinity Church) is not the same.
The hapless kids are played by Michael Angarano, Kyle Gallner and Ronnie Connell. John Goodman plays Agent Keenan, who has to face the music after the raid in a quirky conclusion.
The official site is here.
A good comparison might be the film "Timber Falls" (2007) by Tony Giglio.
For the best account of Waco, I’ll name “Waco: The Rules of Engagement” by William Gazecki, New Yorker Films, 1997.