This movie had potential. It could've easily have been a companion piece to "Hostel", like a religious fundamentalist version. And there are a DOZEN horrible ways that Xtians used to kill people (Brazing Bull, Sawing, witch trial stuff, etc.) But clearly this movie was rushed together and slapped together TOO quickly. It was like Kevin SMith wanted to get this movie out SO quickly that he didn't care about crafting a complete film. The movie is missing a necessary first act, there's no real setup. ANd so when we cut to the 2nd act the tonal change doesn't work. Instead the thriller/murder stuff isn't shocking since we see it coming. And when the FBI/ATF/whatever shows up to kill the church people it's like half of a third act intrudes into the film and never completes itself. The "Rapture" stuff was compelling and even with his nobudget resources Smith should've tried to do this instead of the cop out ending (no pun intended) that he did. It would've made the movie pay off and truly scary since we've never seen a rapture before on screen. But instead we get a half-baked Coen brothers style ripoff of an ending with a pointless monologue by Goodman that's so muddled its a metaphor for this mess of a film. Again, there was a lot of potential here. Maybe someday this film will get remade by someone that cares. My guess is that Smith was so hurt by the critical backlash over "Cop Out" that he was rushing to get back into the game so he could repair his street cred before it was too late (in his mind that is). But it seems like his career went on hold after "Zach and Miri" flopped since Weinstein stopped financing films for him. So "Red State" feels like Smith is trying WAY too hard to win us back with a hard-hitting film that is hard-core for the sake of being hardcore instead of just being a good movie, which it is not. But again, there was some good ideas here. Michael Parks is also EXCELLENT and had the movie been a better vehicle for his performance then I suspect he could've really been remembered in this. His character had cult status written all of it but the film falls apart so quickly that it doesn't sell him they way it should. Even the font used for the titles (ironic as it is in its simplicity) is a turn-off because of how 'simple' it is. It's like Kevin is just tossing this movie out like it's this effortless thing for him yet rather than it coming off as confident it comes off as a form of skimming, like a student who waits the night before a test to study a semester's worth of material. I really wanted to like this film but Kevin's experiment in a film that is edited as he films it goes against the great tradition of filmmaking in a sense-- i.e. if you are going to mimic greats like Tarantino and the Coens who are Kubrickian in their attention to detail and slave over their films, then rushing a movie out contradicts the process they are known for using (they take their time letting their films grow). This is like a fried fast food version of "Fargo" spiced up with Tarantino flourishes/clichés. And like fried food, it's not good for you in the end and doesn't really taste that great the longer you eat it.