Saturday, October 13, 2007

Time for Horror - BUG

So it's that time of year again...


And, naturally, being the crazed horror movie fan that I am, it's time to root out the best horror movies out there and watch as many as humanly possibly ("humanly" being a relative term of course).

Last night we started with the movie Bug, a modern yet not cliched take on the paranoid psychological-thriller genre.

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Bug started off as an off-Broadway play (Michael Shannon, who played the male lead actually starred in the stage version in the same role), and is now adapted by William Friedkin, the acclaimed director of The Exorcist. The script is intense and minimalistic, relying heavily on writing that not only slowly builds character development, but also creates a gradual and deliberate tension between the two main characters to illustrate their descent into paranoia. Fridkin's direction serves to emphasize the frailty of the human spirit and create a feeling off claustrophobia and tension that kept me holding my breath until its final scene. The movie stars Ashley Judd, who I am more and more beginning to view as an incredibly underrated actress of our generation, Harry Connick Jr., and the aforementioned Michael Shannon in the backdrop of a melancholic and dingy trailer park in Oklahoma.

The movie has a simple plot: Down-and-out Agnes (Judd) lives alone in a trailer park, constantly fearing the return of her abusive Ex, Goss (Connick), until she meets the acquaintance of enigmatic Army Vet Peter (Shannon), whom she takes in. Agnes' life seems to be taking a turn for the better until Peter begins to become paranoid that her tiny abode is infested with bugs. Soon Agnes absorbs Peter's fears and the couple turn their home into an enclosed salvation from infestation, draping themselves with flypaper and bathing in spray.

But it's not the plot that is the main feature of the film; as Agnes and Peter become obsessed with the notion of infestation, they become paradigms for the latent paranoid yet human gravitation toward to self destruction. Friedkin expands on the psycho-thriller and creates a horrific, tortured tension while we are forced to see these two characters descend.

In short: Incredible writing creates believable yet empathetic characters while the outstanding acting of Judd and Shannon really brings the script into horrifying color. Incredibly underrated and overlooked when it came out, Bug is a tense psycho-thriller that definitely should be on your list of horror movies for this up and coming Halloween.

GOD I love good horror films. I'm not sure WHY they are so difficult to produce, yet within the bar age of serialized, cliched, unadulterated vacuous gory tripe put out by Hollywood, I am relieved that I can say that I am refreshed every once in a while. And between grasping my boyfriend's hand and holding my breath, I was certainly refreshed with Bug.

Go. See. It.

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