For all its boisterous profanity and splattery violence, the film is more of a weary sigh than a sputtering volley of indignation.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
This is Smith's best film for a while.
Peter Bradshaw - Guardian [UK]
Calculated to outrage and executed to underwhelm, Kevin Smith's Red State is like a dull blade slashing wildly, predictably and ineffectually at its target.
Justin Chang - Variety
Wants so badly to push viewers' buttons, but struggles to reach them more often than not.
William Goss - Film.com
It's a charming if conspicuously unfinished film, a half-riotous, half-idiotic send-up of the teen horror genre with a vaguely hip political twist.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
Red State is cleverly contrarian enough to get a rise out of almost any audience.
Todd McCarthy - Hollywood Reporter
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Kevin Smith breaks with his lo-fi comedy tradition to deliver a horror story with themes of sex, religion and politics.
Tom Glasson - Concrete Playground
The characters are one-dimensional, the plot is a shambles and the preaching gets so tedious you'll be praying yourself for divine intervention.
Matt Looker - TheShiznit.co.uk
It's an often-funny, sometimes precious, but always kind-of-scary little flick worth a note. If this was Smith's first film, he would be touted as a new talent to watch out for.
Witney Seibold - CraveOnline
Richard Roeper - ReelzChannel.com
A flat, talky, derivative "horror" film that's not very controversial despite how much it thinks it is.
R. L. Shaffer - IGN DVD
Taking equal opportunity swipes at Christian fundamentalist bigots and the US government, Kevin Smith's subversively satirical movie keeps its audience continually off balance.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
One of the best white trash horror films in recent memory.
Lucius Gore - ESplatter
Full of controversial subjects and interesting characters, it's the story that ultimately fails.
Kevin A. Ranson - MovieCrypt.com
If his performance were contained in some other film, a so-called 'serious' movie about religion and politics, for example, Michael Parks would be discussed as an Academy Awards contender.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
'Red State' is full of many 'almosts' - it's almost action, almost horror, almost groundbreaking and almost excellent.
Clay Cane - BET.com
It's Kevin Smith, though, which means that "all over the shop" is par for the course, and the shop that Red State wanders all over is, for the most part, compelling.
Clem Bastow - The Vine
A simplistic, poorly-constructed exercise in low-rent genre moviemaking. It's as if Kevin Smith made the movie just so he could promote it.
Robert Levin - Film School Rejects
Director Kevin Smith rebounds in a major way from the Cop Out debacle with a heady thriller that subversively comments on religion, law enforcement, the media and gun control.
Phil Villarreal - OK! Magazine
This is easily Smith's most mature endeavor to date, and it shows significant growth as a filmmaker. And that's what makes Red State both a triumph and a let-down.
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
Kevin Smith fans will be curious about Red State, but few others will be able to endure its tub-thumping attempts at topicality or its lack of storytelling skill.
Jim Schembri - The Age (Australia)
As separate acts, as well written movements meant to completely undermine the state of organized religion today, Red State is mesmerizing.
Bill Gibron - PopMatters
Red State indicates a new level of boldness in Smith, resulting in his best film to date.
Thomas Caldwell - Cinema Autopsy
In its efforts to accommodate Smith's argument the storyline gets decidedly messy. The slacker has become didactic and it doesn't suit him one bit.
Sandra Hall - Sydney Morning Herald
Red State is a bit unpolished - a timestamp appears just once and completely without reason, for instance - but the film has bite and purpose, and it's gripping to watch.
Rima Sabina Aouf - MovieFIX
It's a really strange film, terribly violent on one level and on another filled with lengthy, long-winded philosophical discourses and blind alleys
David Stratton - At the Movies (Australia)
Kevin Smith's best film ever? If it's not, it's damn close. And if you don't know who Kevin Smith is, don't worry: this film's a blast, Smith fan or no.
Dean Essner - Film4
An impressive departure for Kevin Smith...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
A somewhat return to form for director Kevin Smith, this flawed but strangely compelling indie flick is refreshingly unpredictable.
Anthony O'Connor - FILMINK (Australia)
Although the plot "twists" somewhat derail the narrative and send the picture into a tailspin, credit must go to Smith for providing plenty of surprises. Red State is not so much scary as it is shocking, but shocking it most definitely is.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
Kevin Smith shoots action like a boss. Who knew?
Charlie Lyne - Ultra Culture
For those who believe self-styled indie filmmaker Kevin Smith to be a one-trick pony - and there are many - this curious horror-thriller will come as something of a shock.
Ed Gibbs - The Sun Herald
Even in its most off-kilter moments, the performances carry it: Goodman and Parks, particularly, are superb.
Peter Watts - Uncut Magazine [UK]
Deftly offsets its grindhouse excesses with an undercurrent of black humour, some adroit social satire and a string of strong performances that help Smith negotiate the unsettling plot developments he includes to keep audiences on their toes.
Alistair Harkness - Scotsman
It becomes crude, equal-opportunity comedy...
Peter Bradshaw - Observer [UK]
Unadulterated rampant ugliness illustrated by vio
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
Gripping and edgy, and all the performances are outstanding
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
One of the most grotesque films of 2011...
Felix Vasquez Jr. - Cinema Crazed
Ugly characterizations and simplistic preachiness negate the terror in Red State-a film that eventually proves horrific in ways unintended by writer/director Kevin Smith.
Nick Schager - Boxoffice Magazine
Scatters its plotlines all over the place and doesn't seem able to match its comedy with the parodic blood-letting.
Derek Malcolm - This is London
Please don't quit, Kev. We've forgiven you for Jersey Girl. Honest.
Dan Brightmore - Little White Lies
Some lugubrious preaching aside, this is taut, unpredictable and eerie, with good performances, including from John Goodman as an exasperated FBI agent.
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express
The movie undeniably has Things To Say about America's culture wars, but it would be easier to respect if Smith's borrowings from Quentin Tarantino and the Coen brothers weren't so blatant and fanboy-ish.
Tim Robey - Daily Telegraph
Its cynicism both cultivates and dissipates the bouts of humour in one of Smith's most radical yet frank pieces of film-making yet that throws out a collection of controversial ideas.
Lisa Giles-Keddie - Real.com
A tense journey into the darkness of Middle America, Red State holds the power to both shock and amuse with its increasingly audacious story and strong performances.
Ben Rawson-Jones - Digital Spy
It's the rawest exploration of internalised hatred since Michael Winterbottom's take on The Killer Inside Me in April last year.
Graham Young - Birmingham Post
Impressively shot and superbly acted, this is an intriguing change of direction from Kevin Smith that's interesting enough to scrape a pass, even if it doesn't always work.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
There are jagged tonal shifts and dramatic dead ends. It's messy, but it's thrilling, creepy and continually does things you don't expect.
Mark Stafford - Electric Sheep
It's a bit of a mess but there's enough inspired writing and outrageous plot twists to keep you heading for the exit.
Tim Evans - Sky Movies
If nothing else, it's nice to see this director refusing to play by the rules of the multiplex.
Tom Huddleston - Time Out
One of those movies that's "interesting" rather than "good."
Dean Essner - Empire Magazine
Fantatical horror/thriller, focused on Christian fundamentalists with a sinister agenda.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
Smith has never been shy or held back on taboo topics; but here he turns his usual humor into a cynical rant, without a specific comment or a likeable hero. It's very effective and highly powerful.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Common Sense Media
It's very effective and highly powerful, but its main drawback is that it's so darn heavy and black (although it is a merciful 88 minutes).
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
The startling Red State proves that everything you knew - or thought you knew - about Kevin Smith is wrong.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
With Red State, Smith ventures far outside his comfort zone of endlessly chatty films about pop-culture-damaged slackers and into exhilaratingly unfamiliar waters. He's taking as many bold chances artistically as he is commercially.
Nathan Rabin - AV Club
Despite its many flaws, it's the most provocative and least predictable movie that Kevin Smith has made in years, at least since Dogma way back in 1999.
Ethan Alter - Film Journal International
Smith isn't up to doing anything other than setting up caricatures and then knocking them down.
Alison Willmore - Movieline
A brave attempt from Smith to break away from dialogue-heavy comedy, Red State doesn't lack for ideas. What it does lack is an ability to execute them sharply.
Rob James - Total Film
Often messy and frequently distracted, but possessing a violent, verbose, angry intensity that seizes your guts and doesn't let go.
Tom Clift - Cut Print Review
Tom Clift - Moviedex
Red State will piss off a lot of people for a lot of reasons, but it's impossible not be swept up in its manic energy and confrontational politicking.
Simon Foster - sbs.com.au
Neither the masterpiece Smith's partisans claim nor the bomb his detractors insist.
Matt Singer - IFC.com
Red State feels cynical and unresolved, and that's about right, given the thorny areas Smith is wading into.
Rob Gonsalves - eFilmCritic.com
[Smith's] tedious foul-mouthed dialogue ... seems more obnoxious than ever when it brings action and suspense sequences to a grinding halt.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
It's official: Cop Out is no longer the worst movie in Kevin Smith's filmography. Red State is a disaster.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
Kevin Smith's ambition outreaches his talent in Red State, a horror thriller with ultra-fanatical religion in its cross hairs, yet firing blanks in its commentary.
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews
Kevin Smith is mostly knocking down straw men and seething at phantoms.
Eugene Novikov - Film Blather
a frustratingly fantastic movie that would be better and leave more of an impact if it bothered to take some kind of a side
Christopher Null - Filmcritic.com
Part chiller, part lecture, Red State is a jumble of ideas and characterizations tossed haphazardly into an unnervingly disconnected motion picture, which often feels unfinished and calculated instead of winningly feral.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
Be it the acting, the cinematography, or the editing, Smith has a hell of an experience for us.
Matthew Razak - Flixist.com
The film alternates between being heavy handed and moronic, and it seems to be informed by a 15 year olds' understanding of Waco filtered through the paranoid ramblings of a stoner.
Devin Faraci - Badass Digest
Billed as something of a horror movie, the shifting sands of its tone make it neither fish nor fowl, as Smith flirts with comedy, action and horror without carrying off any of them particularly convincingly.
Amber Wilkinson - Eye for Film
Real life isn't filmed quite so nicely, but it's not inconceivable that the film's events could actually happen while we watch it all unfold on CNN, or read about it on Twitter.
Mark Bell - Film Threat
Add a bunch of forgettable characters (including a one-note Melissa Leo) and an ending which flirts with (but then flees from) a truly provocative climax, and you've got a project which perhaps only Rob Zombie could have made something of.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
If Red State isn't necessarily Kevin Smith's best picture, it most certainly is his best-directed. It's a smart, mature film from a man who, now, has artistically come-of-age.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
It offers some very tense moments, and some good, old-fashioned revenge escapism, but in an effort to make it a straight genre film, Smith misses out on some great opportunities to pack a more emotional punch.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
Red State is so off-the-map that it doesn't cohere as a whole.
Anthony Kaufman - Screen International
For pages and pages Smith decides to tell not show.
Jordan Hoffman - UGO
The intensity is brutal, like relentless horror movies where even the survivors, if there are any, still go through hell.
Fred Topel - Screen Junkies
Chris Bumbray - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
A messy, ambitious disappointment.
Katey Rich - CinemaBlend.com