Search This Blog

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day 164: Bug

Excuse me, you have a face on your face

I'm not really one for conspiracies. Sure, they're kind of fun to read about in their own over-the-top sort of way. I don't believe that there's a group of people controlling the planet, I don't think the government is watching us through our cereal, and I don't think that Elvis was an alien. Like I said, they're kind of funny, but not based in reality. Not that that stops people from writing books, making videos, screaming from the sidewalks, or voting for Ron Paul. Conspiracies play well in fiction because the audience never knows exactly what is going on, which can create an exciting experience. In movies, it's even better because you get explosions, loud music, and in this movie, Ashley Judd.

Bug is a 2006 horror thriller based off a play of the same name written by Tracy Letts, starring Ashley Judd (Kiss The Girls, High Crimes) as Agnes White and Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road, Boardwalk Empire) as Peter Evans. Agnes is a waitress living in a run-down motel, constantly afraid of her ex-husband Jerry (Harry Connick Jr., Independence Day, Dolphin Tale) who recently got out of jail. They had a son together named Lloyd who went missing years ago and Agnes has never recovered. Her friend R.C. Brings over Peter, who is quite, but is attracted to Agnes. In their loneliness, they connect with each other and make love. It's after having sex that they begin to have a bug infestation in their room. Sores begin to appear on both of their bodies. Agnes goes to the doctor who informs her that they aren't bug bites and in fact may be self-inflicted. Peter studies the bugs under a microscope and believes that they are eating his blood. He reveals that he was in the Army and was a test subject in strange experiments. He went AWOL and believes the government implanted him with the bugs. Peter rips out a tooth which he believes has an egg sack in side of it. When Agnes looks under a microscope, she sees millions of bugs. The descend into hysteria, covering the motel room in aluminum foil and bug zappers and digging deeper into the government conspiracy that they were brought together for a very specific reason. Are the bugs really there or are Agnes and Peter just insane?

"The government is in our elbows! Freedom! Liberty! Constitution! Ron Paul 2016!!11!"

Interesting is a good way to describe Bug. I honestly was expecting a movie about horrible alien bugs infesting a house or something along those lines. To my surprise, the movie is far more deeper than I could have ever expected. It's not your traditional horror movie, with the fear coming more from erratic behavior and the unknown than big, scary monsters. Confusing is another good way to describe Bug. The paranoia is palpable and you begin to question what exactly is going on. Sometimes it become frustrating because you just want to know what's going on. It didn't help that for half the movie, nothing really happens. I appreciate the desire to develop characters, but there were some scenes that devolved into Quentin Tarantino chat fests. I don't need an explosion every 10 minutes, but the movie went from no build in the first half to Noah's Ark in the last 25 minutes.

You're not really supposed to know exactly what is happening or what is true in Bug, thanks in part to the extremely convincing acting by Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon. They're not simply one-dimensional conspiracy nuts, but emotionally damaged and mentally fractured people. Harry Connick also puts in a very good performance as the raging ex-husband. The is brought together by the great direction of Academy Award winner William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection). It's actually quite impressive that this movie started out as a play, but I can see how it would work in the stage. Almost the entire movie is set in Agnes's hotel and there are only a few actors. There is a difference being on stage and screen and when you're watching a horror movie, you're expecting more action than what most of Bug provides.

Crazy? Do I look crazy?! Oh, I do?

Bug is not your usual type of horror movie. More cerebral and psychological than physical, Bug leads you down the rabbit hole of conspiracies, leaving you unsure of what exactly is going on. The acting is great along with the direction. The movie lacks in action, but tries to make up for it with suspense. The movie starts out too slow, but it speeds up towards the end. I would have liked a little more balance between the character development and story progression. It's intense and there are scenes of drug use and nudity, so it's not for the younger crowd. If you need a lot of action and explosions, Bug isn't for you, but if you like your horror to require some thinking, you might like Bug.


No comments:

Post a Comment