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Red State Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 40

    out of 100

    Variety Justin Chang

    This sloppily constructed horror-thriller lacks the satirical bite and action chops to skewer extreme-right-wing zealots with the gusto Smith clearly feels they deserve, instead evincing the verbal incontinence and slack tension that have long dogged the writer-director's work.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    The New York Times A.O. Scott

    For all its boisterous profanity and splattery violence, the film is more of a weary sigh than a sputtering volley of indignation.

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  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy

    Red State is cleverly contrarian enough to get a rise out of almost any audience.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

not for kids

Startlingly violent, intense Kevin Smith shocker.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this extremely violent thriller is full of potentially controversial/offensive social commentary about extreme right-wing religious radicals, gay bashing, the effect of the Patriot Act, and Internet porn. Though the movie's dark mood isn't typical for writer/director Kevin Smith (who usually makes edgy comedies), the content is everything you'd expect from the man behind Clerks, Dogma, and Chasing Amy: extremely strong, constant language and sexual innuendo. This time Smith ups the ante by adding brutal violence, including torture, imprisonment, murder, blood, gore, and many, many dead bodies. There's also teen drinking and a scene of an adult drinking to drunkenness.

  • Families can talk about the movie's extreme violence. What is its purpose? Is it necessary to the story? When does media violence cross the line? And who determines where that line falls?
  • Are there any examples of a healthy relationship in the movie? Are any of the characters role models? 
  • How does this movie compare to Kevin Smith's other films? Does he have a consistent agenda? How would you define it?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The movie asks viewers to consider extreme hatred and intolerance performed in the name of righteousness -- as well as intolerance practiced by so-called "good guys." The movie offers no solutions or suggestions for these problems, but it does assume empathy and understanding on the part of its audience.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Most of the characters are deeply flawed and not people you'd want teens emulating in any way. Only one character, a cop, shows empathy and humanity during a tense and impossible situation.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: Zealots capture, imprison, torture, and murder people whom they think are gay. Viewers see screaming victims, blood, and dead bodies. There are broken bones and exploding heads. The movie's climax is a brutal shootout in which several people are viciously shot and killed, many point blank. Children inside a church are shown to be in danger. A general attitude of hate and anger permeates the movie.

  • sex false5

    Sex: Little nudity, but very strong sexual situations: Three teen boys look at a sex "hook-up" site -- which is shown quickly and briefly on a smartphone -- and respond to an ad. They meet up with a middle-aged woman who has agreed to have a "foursome" with them (though the actual act doesn't happen). There's the suggestion of a man giving another man oral sex. Lots of strong sexual language and a crude drawing of female genitalia.

  • language false5

    Language: Strong, constant language (a hallmark of Kevin Smith movies), including countless uses of "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," "t-ts," "vagina," "d--k," "ass," "a--hole," "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation), "hell," "bitch," "anal," "sodomize," etc. Also derogatory slurs like "wetback" and "f----t."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Coca-Cola is mentioned twice, but both times in a highly unappetizing way. (It's unlikely that Coke paid for or approved of anything here.)

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Teens drink something alcoholic -- unseen, in a paper bag -- while driving. Later they drink beer. A local sheriff pours and drinks several whiskeys, getting drunk in the process.