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Red State (2011)
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Set in Middle America, a group of teens receive an online invitation for sex, though they soon encounter Christian fundamentalists with a much more sinister agenda.

Red State (2011)

State Shifting

Suppose you are a filmmaker with one skill only. You know it; you have milked it as much as you can and want to grow.

Kevin Smith has one talent only: to create and effectively present a world that is a bit different. The difference is a conventional sort of difference, one exploited by science fiction writers and others who earn their living through clarification by analogy. ‘Clerks‘ was a brilliant, naive success. Successive films god better but more tiresome.

Now he adds a trick; he starts as usual, putting you in a now well established torture horror genre. The bad guys here are also standard: inbred, presumably Appalachian trailer trash. The religious association is incidental to the genre. These are hicks, and we expect this to proceed somewhere between ‘Saw‘ and Rob Zombie.

But then things start to flow. Kevin has learned how to tell a story not by what actually happens in the story (not much does) but what happens in the abstractions of the world through which the story is presented. In terms of genre, we pass from the beginning somewhat comic horror, to some sort of action, to a potential psychological hostage drama to a conspiracy genre. But that’s not the main game here: it is spin on the genre that matters and the spin changes faster than established conventions. That’s the novelty here.

Smith abstracts in his normal way, but he does it dynamically, shifting in unexpected ways.

Posted in 2011

Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.

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