"A horror film by Kevin Smith".....whether or not this movie is truly a horror film is up for discussion, but, that being said, based on the subject matter this is one of the more terrifying films I've seen this year.
I'm thinking Kevin Smith may have missed his calling, after the failures of his last few attempts at comedic and dramatic films, I had chalked him up to being done. Looks to me like he would have had a lot more successful last few years had he jumped on the darker side of things a bit earlier. And he didn't even have to completely abandon his patented wit and knack for dialogue to enjoy that success either. This film almost feels like Coen brothers doing horror because of the expert blending of levity and misery, that along with a perfectly selected cast of individuals who are all fair game as far as life expectancy goes makes this even more shocking and unpredictable......much like, well.....a Coen brothers film (and the presence of John Goodman in the cast does nothing to quell those comparisons). The plot is brilliant, multi layered and very socially applicable dealing with an ultra- right wing 'christian' group that resembles a truly worrisome hybrid of the Branch Davidians and the Westboro Baptist freaks (yea, the "god hates fags" guys but with a literal arsenal) who take 'god's will' into their own hands by capturing and dispatching of gays and other such 'sexual deviants'. At some point the government gets involved, and the movie kind of takes a turn from the horror side of things and heads more into a government cover-up, bureaucratic war of morals, stand-off type of deal. But at no point does it lose any steam, staying just as brutal and engaging from minute one to minute eighty eight.
Just as intense and engaging as the plot are the phyical aspects of this film, great ultra realistic violence is all through this film, with people getting offed at a clip that made my head spin. Like i earlier mentioned, no one is safe in this film and when they meet their respective demises there is no apologizing or skirting the issue, Mr. Smith makes damn sure of that.
If you're into a really smart, super brutal and not traditionally scary film, look no further than this one. I look eagerly foward to Kevins next offering to the genre.
8/10 detached retinas