Bug Movie Review
Bugs! Bugs! Bugs everywhere!
I have just reenacted most of the dialogue found in Bug, a movie that is not a B-grade horror film about deadly bugs (if you want that, there was a pretty good "X-Files" episode a decade or so ago) but in fact a psychological thriller about a lonely waitress (Ashley Judd) who bunks up with a paranoid traveler (Michael Shannon) who believes that the government has created invisible bugs. To find out if the bugs are real you'll have to watch the movie, but let's just say that the movie gets pretty messed up.
If you like seeing Judd naked or men pulling their own teeth out with pliers, then Bug may be for you. Directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist), the movie is a surprising little picture that never achieves greatness but certainly has its moments. What the movie lacks in real substance it makes up for with weirdness, as Friedkin drops the audience into the middle of two people's personal Hell. Neither Judd nor Shannon deliver their best performances, but the performances work well within the scope of the picture. As things get truly intense in the third act, Judd and Shannon play off one another well; I can't imagine what it was like to be on set watching these two scream at either about bugs they can't see.
When all is said and done, I have no interest in watching Bug again, but I'm glad I watched it once. The movie has its shocks (Shannon tearing out his own teeth, among other body parts, is a surprise and highlight), and overall is a decent portrayal of a continual spiral into insanity. That being said, none of the characters are especially likable, and even if they're meant to be, it's really hard to care for the leads at all by the end of the picture. Still, the movie ends with very good and disturbing "twist".
Bug is a film that has its moments and certainly offers a unique take on the psychological thriller, but in the end it isn't quite good enough to be memorable. Expect to see this one in the bargain bin soon enough.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.