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04th Apr 2024

Netflix has just added a very dark and twisty thriller movie

Stephen Porzio

The underrated and underseen flick was surprisingly made by the director of cult comedies Clerks and Dogma.

Red State, the 2011 thriller movie written and directed by cult filmmaker Kevin Smith (Chasing Amy, Clerks, Dogma), has just been added to Netflix.

It revolves around three teenagers – Travis (Michael Angarano), Jarod (Kyle Gallner) and Billy-Ray (Nicholas Braun) – as they drive to meet a woman they met online.

However, the invitation winds up actually being a trap, with the boys eventually finding themselves in the hands of Abin Cooper (an incredible Michael Parks), a lunatic preacher who plans to kill the trio for their sins – prompting a desperate escape bid.

The situation winds up escalating into a stand-off between Cooper’s followers and the ATF (led by John Goodman).

Billed upon its initial cinema release as an “unlikely film from that Kevin Smith” and co-starring Oscar winner Melissa Leo, as well as Kerry Bishé, Kevin Pollak and Stephen Root, Red State generally earned mixed-to-positive reviews from critics.

And now that it is on Netflix over a decade later, we’d recommend that fans of horrors or thrillers check it out for its terrific performances, its social commentary, its dark comedy and its genuinely surprising ending.

You can read a sample of some of the more glowing write-ups for Red State from critics right here:

AV Club: “With Red State, Smith ventures far outside his comfort zone of endlessly chatty films about pop-culture-damaged slackers and into exhilaratingly unfamiliar waters. He’s taking as many bold chances artistically as he is commercially.”

CineVue: “Red State’s second half is a gripping and relentless 70s-inflected exploitation B-movie, giving us exciting ultraviolence alongside intriguing debates – one admires the ambition.”

Commercial Appeal: “If his performance were contained in some other film, a so-called ‘serious’ movie about religion and politics, for example, Michael Parks would be discussed as an Academy Awards contender.”

Electric Sheep: “There are jagged tonal shifts and dramatic dead ends. It’s messy, but it’s thrilling, creepy and continually does things you don’t expect.”

Digital Spy: “A tense journey into the darkness of Middle America, Red State holds the power to both shock and amuse with its increasingly audacious story and strong performances.”

CraveOnline: “It’s an often-funny, sometimes precious, but always kind-of-scary little flick worth a note. If this was Smith’s first film, he would be touted as a new talent to watch out for.”

Red State is streaming on Netflix in Ireland and the UK right now. It is also available to watch on The Roku Channel and Tubi for US viewers.