"Simple just shit itself…"
If my reviews are ever helpful to anyone but myself, I can guarantee this won't be one of them, as it's one of the kind I pretty much already had written in my head the minute I heard about the film, and it's only developed as the past year or so has gone onwards. From the spark of "Kevin Smith is gonna do a horror movie" to the whole rush of the SModcast network and his radio station - even a whole podcast series of Q&As about this very film - it's sort of a miracle that I still came to this movie not really knowing exactly what to expect.
As high as my expectations were, they were matched a massive fear of disappointment, in which case I would have written much here about the fact that after listening to Smith, his family and friends for the last 6 months (I still haven't missed a single episode of Per Diem or Get Jobs, and I listen to all but a couple of the podcasts as avidly), the movie feels something like a home movie, with Ralph Garman as a mute bad guy, Smith's wife Jen in a small role, and the likes of Michael Parks, John Goodman, and Kevin Pollak, whose performances Smith has barely been able to contain himself over (they're the reason behind the recent Academy qualifying theatrical run of the movie in LA).
So the main part of this review is this: I'm overjoyed to say that with my frankly unfair expectations for this project after Cop Out and Zack and Miri failed to turn me on (tho, again, having listened to Smith I understand the part those films played in his grand scheme), it didn't disappoint me at all. This film isn't just a gargantuan leap over Smith's last two films, it's a complete departure from anything he's ever done.
I reserve one heart in my rating this first viewing because quite honestly, by the time the credits rolled, I still didn't know what to think. I sat through the whole of this movie with my mouth slightly agape, simply a slave to the wonderful fact that despite having been exposed to so much talk about it over the past year, I had no f-ing clue where it was headed next. John Goodman and Michael Parks' performances steal the show completely, it'd be a great film if was just theirs, but Smith handles his action sequences with a confidence I don't think anybody would've seen previously in his abilities as a film maker. The gore is minimal but thrillingly inventive, with even the stuff you may see coming a mile away coming from just enough of another angle to tickle the senses. This is a movie I look forward to seeing again and again, and if Kevin Smith fulfils his promise that his final movie, the 2-part Hit Somebody, will be even better, than I'm honestly frightened about how much that one will blow me away. I'll be honest, I don't care how silly it sounds: I feel oddly proud of the dude about this one… he pulled off what he set out to do beyond anyone's doubts or expectations… that's literally all there is to say…