By Simon Dang | The Playlist December 3, 2010 at 2:14AM
After being added to the Sundance Non-Competition line up just yesterday, we now have our first official look at Kevin Smith's religious horror "Red State" which features an impressive ensemble cast including Michael Parks, Kevin Pollack, John Goodman, Kyle Gallner, Melissa Leo, Michael Angarano, Stephen Root and his future "Hit Somebody" lead Nicholas Braun.
The film follows a group of kids who encounter a crazed preacher -- played by an eerie-looking Parks and based on the founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, Fred Phelps -- who gives a whole new meaning to the term 'extreme fundamentalism.' As Smith previously explained, "in the 70's, they made exploitation flicks about devil worship. We flip it on RED STATE - so it's an exploitation flick about angel worship."
A complete gear change from Smith, "Red State" promises to be fascinating turn in his career and will see him return to Sundance, where everything began sixteen years ago with "Clerks." Interestingly, Smith's film won't be the only high profile film at Sundance with a story centering on the idea of religion either: last year's Best Supporting Actress nominee Vera Farmiga will also be premiering her directorial debut "Higher Ground," which is based on "This Dark World," Carolyn Brigg's memoirs about her immersion into a fundamentalist faith and her decision to leave it all behind twenty years later.
The premiere of Smith's film at Sundance will probably garner a little more attention though, not only because he's an icon there, but as the filmmaker is looking to sell the distribution rights to his film directly after the screening in an auction-style sale. Smith has also promised a teaser trailer for the film will be unveiled on Christmas Day so these pics will have to tide you over until then. [ShockTilYouDrop]