Red State takes place in an fictional town in Middle America. Three teenagers answer an on-line sex ad and soon find out that that they have stepped into more than what they bargained for. The three have fallen into a trap set up by Chrisian Fundamentalists led by a false-prophet preacher who believes he is the Messiah.
The plot-line then has the preacher, Albin Cooper (Michael Parks) and his followers squaring off against the the ATF, led by Agent Joseph Keenan (John Goodman.) In this act, the film rapidly turns into a scene reminiscent of the standoff in Waco, Texas with Branch Dividians.
Billed as a horror flick, this "B" Movie doesnt really fit into the horror genre. Sure, there is plenty of suspense tied in with blood and guts, but I would say that the film would better described as a dark comedy/thriller.
Goodman and Parks carry the whole film on their shoulders, as their characters are the only two who are really getting across any sort of message. Park's portrayal of a radical preacher rings in the tone of how someone can lead others to kill in the name of God, regardless of what religion they are. Goodman does a good job of portraying a lead government agent who is conflicted between protecting the innocent and carrying out orders to kill everyone by his superiors.
Director Kevin Smith is no stranger to controversy, and his films usually have some sort of hidden message. He covers a plethora of issues such as homophobia, religious extremism, second amendment rights, corrupt authority, and general morality. It's just hard to decipher which point Smith was trying to make most important. He has definitely stepped out of his realm with this picture though. Usually directing slacker comedies, he is far removed from his days of Clerks (1994) or Chasing Amy (1997.) This film is more like that of a Tarantino flick like Pulp Fiction (1994) or From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)