'Red State' teaser poster: Is this Kevin Smith's comeback?

Kevin Smith finished filming his mysterious horror film Red State last Wednesday. He finished editing it a few days later, according to his blog, and even screened the mostly finished film at the wrap party.  Smith claims to have been editing the movie every day of filming: “I haven’t slept much.” To whet our appetites, Smith also released a teaser poster for the film, which features an eerie image and an eerier tagline: “Fear God.” Between Smith’s clear excitement about the project, the sure-to-be-controversial Christian-horror theme, and the dynamite cast (John Goodman, Melissa Leo, Kevin Pollak, and Anna Gunn, among others), I think it’s time to ask: Could this be Kevin Smith’s comeback film?

Smith’s Dogma was one of the most influential films I saw as a teenager. There was something weird and wonderful about how Dogma mashed together Smith’s scruffy predilections — comic books, drugs, poop jokes — with a sly, intelligent, expansive vision of the spiritual universe. (Dogma is the perfect gateway drug to The Seventh Seal.) Coming off Chasing Amy — a great indie romance which I’d argue is basically what every Mumblecore movie wants to be — Dogma looked like a decisive step out into bigger things. It was a movie with ideas. (Also, with Ben Affleck’s exploding head.)

Unfortunately, stasis followed. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back drowned in fan service. Jersey Girl, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and Cop Out weren’t just bad, they were colorless —  none of the movies really feel very much like Kevin Smith. I kind of enjoyed Clerks II just for the Star Wars vs. Lord of the Rings” scene, but the film’s very existence is a filmmaker’s white flag — “Quick, retreat to the first movie!”

I don’t want to sound like a crank. Smith’s clearly been having a lot of fun — he’s in serious competition with Stan Lee for most geek-tastic cameo artist (see Daredevil, Live Free or Die Hard, Southland Tales, and voice roles in everything from Superman/Doomsday to Duck Dodgers.) His Twitter stream makes for addictive reading, and there’s something kind of wonderful about a filmmaker who’s still willing to take on his critics. Smith’s always been an exciting personality. It’s just been a long, long time since that personality has come across vividly in his films. I’m hoping Red State is the Kevin Smith movie I’ve been waiting for since I walked out of Dogma with my teenaged mind completely blown.

PopWatchers, are you excited about Red State? What do you think a Kevin Smith horror movie will look like? Any Zack and Miri fans think I’m being too hard on some of his movies?

Read more:
Kevin Smith talks great indie films
John Goodman cast in Kevin Smith horror movie


Comments (43 total) Add your comment
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  • Tim

    You come off like a jerk.

    And no mention of SModcast?
    Do more research.

    • Tom Strong

      Kevin Smith is a hack. This poster looks like a 13 year old played with some Photoshop buttons.

      • JohnM

        You just look desperate, get over it.

  • Josie

    I’m a fan of Kevin Smith. Not so much Clerks II, but I thoroughly enjoyed Jersey Girl. I don’t remember Zack and Miri being that bad, and Cop Out had some laugh out loud moments.

    I think the problem is that everyone expects so much from him. I go in expecting a low budget black and white movie, and I enjoy myself almost every time.

    You can take the film maker out of Jersey, but you can’t take Jersey out of the filmmaker.

    Also, Clerks the Cartoon Show should have been mentioned here, because it was amazing.

  • Winona

    Love Kevin Smith – hate horror films. So I’m pretty sure I won’t be seeing this one… and I guess I’m about the only person who will admit to liking Cop Out.

  • DMR

    I love Kevin Smith. You have to respect a film maker that had the courage to use his own credit cards to make Clerks. (Even funnier to know how he got them – see an Evening with Kevin Smith). I do think his last couple movies have been lackluster when I compare them to the warm spot in my heart occupied by Clerks, Mallrats, and Chasing Amy – I will always appreciate the opportunity to see his movies. Go Kevin.

  • T-boz

    Love Kevin Smith!!

  • ggny

    Kevin Smith’s comeback was and is Smodcast Network…Smodcast/Jay and Silent Bob get Old are amazing and if your a fan you should def check them out

    • ggny

      also Hollywood Babble On with Ralph Garman is great

  • Grubi

    I liked Zack and Miri quite a bit. I don’t think it deserves to be lumped in with Cop Out, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jersey Girl, and the bad half of Clerks II.

  • Sara J

    I love Zack and Miri. One of the best rom coms of recent memory, hands down. Yeah, it was missing some of the scruffy, weird, indie charm of his earlier stuff and not set in his View Askew universe – but it was also a lot more polished. And Clerks II was hilarious. So, I’m def interested in this, although I don’t think he needs a comeback.

  • Aprilcot26

    ‘Dogma’ is one of my all-time favorites, and I love Kevin Smith, but agree that his recent films have been less than stellar. Here’s hoping ‘Red State’ will be his comeback; I’m really looking forward to it.

  • klw

    Am I the only one that actually like Jersey Girl? Kevin Smith is a director I actually like cause of his POV and if the trailer looks good then I might go see it

  • Kenny L.

    Smith merely directed Cop Out, he didn’t write it.

  • Todd

    Yes, you’re being much too hard on Zach and Miri. It was a great movie that deserves more credit. If we’re really going to talk about disappointing Kevin Smith movies, it should start with Cop Out. That movie should have been amazing, but it really wasn’t. It was fine, but Kevin Smith’s movies should never elicit that reaction.

  • mac

    The problem with Cop Out is Tracy Morgan. In fact Tracy Morgan is the problem any time Tracy Morgan is involved. Tracy Morgan is the reason that, even though everyone is telling me that 30 Rock is funny and Emmy worthy, I have never been able to make it through a single episode. Tracy Morgan made me mute SNL. I hate Tracy Morgan! He ruins everything! AAAAARRRGGHH!!!!!!!Hey! You kids get off my lawn!

    • Mc Prophet

      ^^^ This.

    • Grubi

      I despise Tracy Morgan as well and will not watch 30 Rock because of him too. He is a poor man’s Chris Tucker. And this is coming from someone who strongly dislikes Chris Tucker.

      • jamesneysmith

        Watch it for Baldwin. He is hilarious

    • Tookie

      I hate Tracy Morgan!

    • Steve

      Tracey Morgan is certainly terrible, but 30 Rock is such an ensemble show that he has maybe 2 or 3 minutes screen time each episode.

    • Meier

      Anyone who hates (hates?!?) Tracy Morgan is in serious need of lightening up. He may be a clown, but he’s one that’s self-aware. He gave it his all in ‘Cop Out’ but wasn’t given much to work with. You want to blame one of the leads? Look no further than Bruce Willis. VERY lazy contribution.

  • Sage

    He has nothing to come back from. In my opinion, he’s probably more popular right now than he has ever been. And he has his hands in everything. Plus, Zach and Miri was hilarious and heartfelt at the same time. I think a lot of people were scared away by the title.

  • Craig

    Sorry, fanboys… Smith hasn’t been even remotely relevant for years and years and years.

    • John

      Yet there he is, touring and selling out theaters all over the country with Q&As and live SModcasts, and has a handful of the top-ranked podcasts in the world.

      Yep, not relevant and obviously nobody cares about him.

      • Jason

        Not to mention he sold out Carnegie Hall

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