Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
First they send in their drone... Then they find their queen.
A lonely waitress with a tragic past, Agnes rooms in a run-down motel, living in fear of her abusive, recently paroled ex-husband. But when Agnes begins a tentative romance with Peter, an eccentric, nervous drifter, she starts to feel hopeful again - until the first bugs arrive...
I seriously can't believe it. After my wife subjected her poor mid 70's parents to Killer Joe last night, she somehow convinced them, by some sly Ashley Judd trickery, to watch Bug tonight. I suspect they aren't going to visit anymore.
Me, I was smiling all the way through. Not from observing my in-laws uncomfortable, but well timed, reactions, ( well, maybe a little ) but rather that on a short re-watch this film didn't lose a speck of it's brilliant luster.
After being completely gob-smacked by Friedkin’s Killer Joe last year, I was eagerly anticipating seeing his previous collaboration with playwright Tracy Letts. I was expecting good things, but not the incredible ride I was taken on.
Right from the opening scene, Friedkin conveys so much with such masterful economy, it’s staggering. We start with a distant point of light, as we move in closer and closer you feel the isolation and loneliness, and you feel that something is arriving. The simple use of the harsh ringing of a telephone elicits a sense of menace and dread.
Perhaps we’re seeing a visual metaphor of Peter’s elliptical approach to Agnes. He sees her tiny point of light, and is drawn to her…
Infestation is everywhere in Bug attacking the pores of the skin, slowly taking over the mind, large pests leaving prison to invade lives, secret organisations on the hunt looking to exterminate their prey. It's a cacophony of disease surrounding two people holed up inside their own lonely lives, barricaded into a motel room, seeking refuge in the corners of their disappearing sanity.
This intense psychodrama quietly lays its seed early on then draws you in slowly, almost deceptively, to a climax that will leave you wide-eyed at two actors totally off the leash. Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon turn in performances of the like you rarely get to see, or which a director rarely inspires. An actor on their game…
Agnes White (Ashley Judd) lives in a run-down motel. Her son has gone missing years ago. Her violent ex-husband has recently been released from prison. She receives silent phone calls that worry her. She meets Peter Evans (Michael Shannon) through a friend. He is acting very strange and seems to be a dangerous person but Agnes allows him to stay with her for awhile. As they begin to know each other, she finds out from him that he was used by the military in different experiments, ran away and now is followed by secret agencies.
This movie is insane. Most of it takes place in the motel room which creates a claustrophobic atmosphere rarely achieved in other movies. Ashley Judd…
Bug had me from the very first scene.
Black screen with credits. An old rotary phone rings.
It is answered by a woman. Hello? (pause). Hello?
An aerial view of the middle of nowhere with what looks to be 5 buildings surrounded by nothing but empty fields and a highway.
It's eerie and ominous already. Someone somewhere down below is getting calls. Wherever she is we know she is isolated. Alone.
The camera keeps moving forward. She is in one of these buildings.
Who is calling her? How long has this been going on?
The camera begins to settle on a decrepit motel. Motel. Is she hiding from someone? Has he found her?
We are now just above the motel…
Those who have seen Bug will know damn well why I start this review with that exclamation. After all, where the hell did they get that much tinfoil from?!
I jest of course, it's because Bug is mad. When I say that I don't mean in the usual way you might describe something as such, but because the content is mad. Portraying paranoid delusion and escalating psychosis is something that cinema has often struggled to do convincingly and even truly great films have grappled with the subject but not really managed to do so all that successfully.
On this front, films often go wrong on one of two levels - acting performances or pacing. I would imagine it…
"I'm just looking for a friend"
Masterfully builds suspense before becoming an unrelenting piece of horror, equal parts depressing too.
Well acted, well written, well directed-yet completely bizarre psychological horror story.
This unusual film was directed by William Friedkin-who seems to have evolved his thinking over the years so that this feels and looks like a much different picture than "The Exorcist"-for better or Worse.
The story at first seems to be about two lonely people who make a genuine bond and connection in a Rustic Motel. It turns out the dude is a real psychotic and the woman is only too ready to follow him over the edge.
Friedkin manages to make this adaptation of Tracy Letts play never feel stagey even though nearly the entire film takes place in one room.
Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon are completely committed and give disturbingly hysterical performances.
Certainly not for all tastes-and the film is really more about the effort than the final result-though the finale is definitely a WOW!
Very cool psychological horror from William Friedkin. Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon give extremely committed performances both of which make for uneasy viewing at times. The sense of claustrophobia and paranoia builds throughout the movie and the payoff at the end matches the build-up.
This film is kinda, sorta brilliant. It's dank, nasty, off-putting.... and I loved it. The slow build of awkwardness and uncomfortability that climaxes in the fantastically bizarre and way over-the-top finish, complete with long, insane monologues from our two leads, is only the icing on the cake. There's a beehive of ideas and meanings and subtexts buzzing underneath the seemingly inane story, and to ignore them would be downright shameful. Are the bugs real? Does it even matter? Probably not, because it doesn't take away from the subversive creativity of this film.
One of the weirdest movies I've ever had the chance to see. Michael Shannon is terrifying. The whole concept is terrifying. I promise that not everyone from Oklahoma is this crazy.
There's a (relatively short) time gap around half way through the film where I find the developments a little hard to accept. But that is pretty much my only complaint about this bizarre film.
The relationships between the characters at the start is a little confusing, so perhaps that's another problem. As we begin, Ashley Judd is hanging out with a girlfriend. The two have a very familiar kiss suggesting that they are sleeping together, but Ashley Judd is worried about her possessive ex-boyfriend who is due to be released from prison. But her casual girlfriend has brought around a friend who she clearly finds attractive, played by Michael Shannon.
In spite of some scepticism, Judd finds herself intrigued by…
Directed by William Friedkin from a screenplay derived from his own play by Tracy Letts, "Bugs" is a Cronenergian paranoia horror / thriller par excellence. It opens with Agnes White (Ashley Judd) as a depressed waitress living in a run-down motel, who hangs out with a lesbian friend R.C. (Lynn Collins) and lives in fear of her abusive ex-husband Jerry (Harry Connick Jr.) who has just been released from prison. One night at a bar R.C. introduces Agnes to Peter (Michael Shannon) and the pair strike up a relationship. Although Peter is a bit odd he and Agnes soon become lovers and he subsequently confides that he is an absent soldier who had been subject to biological testing at Groom…
Michael Shannon's psychotic turn is his breakthrough performance for me..Nerve racking,edgy and an underrated film from Friedkin.
SAW IT AT FANTASTIC FEST 2006
A great movie about love gone wrong. The movie is about lovers who have this obssession about being surrounded by bugs that are changing them.The acting is so strong in this movie I actually believe their paranoia of the characters.
Many favorites, as well as a small handful of films that I don't care for... in no particular order (1960-2014).