Director: Kevin Smith
Starring: Michael Parks, Stephen Root, John Goodman, Kevin Pollak, Melissa Leo, Michael Angarano, Nicholas Braun, Kyle Gallner
More info: IMDb
Tagline: Fear God
Plot: Set in Middle America, a group of teens receive an online invitation for sex, though they soon encounter fundamentalists with a much more sinister agenda.
My rating: 8.5/10
Will I watch it again? YES!!!
HOLY SHIT! Literally. HOLY SHIT! For the past several months I've heard an awful lot of Kevin Smith bashing and how this movie failed. Kevin Smith haters must agree on one thing, Michael Parks is one of the greatest screen actors we've had in the last thirty years and he's delivered one hell of a performance in this film. If his work in KILL BILL (2003) isn't enough to convince you , this will. His introduction in church with a very lengthy sermon is nothing short of brilliant. I don't believe in any of that bullshit he spews but I think I'd sit in a time or two just to hear him speak just because it's Michael Parks.
The entire cast is outstanding and I'm mostly impressed by the younger cast. Usually you get punk-ass wannabes but these people can act. It's so nice to see John Goodman back on the big screen even though he's got too much makeup on. Kevin Pollak is always fun and so is Stephen Root.
It doesn't take but a few short minutes to get into the story. Once the three boys are captured by Parks and his ilk and they're brought to a church service to be executed (!), my heart was pounding for easily the next hour and it didn't let up until the standoff was resolved. I was shocked that funny guy Kevin Smith could deliver something so tense and suspenseful that it would get that kind of reaction out of me. It didn't feel like a Kevin Smith movie until the DEA meeting after the incident. It was classic Smith. While I liked that part, it's too light. I would have preferred the tone to have remained consistent. The last line by a prisoner is fucking classic (voiced by Smith).
I cannot recommend this picture strongly enough. Smith has been touring the country for most of this year with the film and I think it's about to go wide in the next week or so. My ass is going to be in a darkened theater to see it again. Hopefully it'll play here in Pensacola, Florida - the asshole of the bible belt. People like these assholes are all around us which makes it all the more frightening here in The South. This is a fine thriller/horror (depending on how you look at it) that is relentless and ballsy. I am impressed.