Kevin Smith writing and directing a horror movie? Why, that’s so crazy, it just might work! And work it does, as Smith puts the View Askewiverse far behind him with this stark, mean-spirited modern day morality tale about why you should keep those hormonal urges — and, on the flip side, fanatical religious beliefs — to yourself. Three high school kids answer an online ad from a woman looking for hot sex, which is actually just a trap to lure “sinners” into the lair of Abin Cooper (Michael Parks), the God-fearing leader of an extremist religious group known as the Five Points Church. A series of (increasingly unfortunate) events leads to an all-out Western-style gun fight between the members of the Five Points and a group of ATF agents led by the unflappable Special Agent Keenan (John Goodman). As with all of Smith’s films, Red State has a lot on its mind, though this time the DIY auteur doesn’t allow himself to fall back on crude humor or outrageous set pieces — though structured as a parable, this is a brutal piece of work, one that, admittedly, we didn’t think the guy behind Clerks had in him. An ambitious companion piece of sorts to Dogma, Red State isn’t perfect, but it’s a smart, unpredictable and fascinating piece of filmmaking. Beware the Netflix description of this film — there’s no “supernatural force” at work here, just plain ol’ human weakness.