Bug (2006)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
Genres / Traits: Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Insects
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William Friedkin William Friedkin
Ashley Judd Ashley Judd
Michael Shannon Michael Shannon
Harry Connick Jr. Harry Connick Jr.
Lynn Collins Lynn Collins
Brían F. O'Byrne Brían F. O'Byrne

6.1 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: May 26, 2007
If you thought William Friedkin was a one hit wonder in the horror genre, think again. Many critics would probably disagree, commenting that "Bug" is not so much a horror film, but a taut psychological thriller, or even paranoid social commentary. That's all well and good, but I don't think I've seen a film this horrific all year long, or last year, or the year before. And that doesn't mean that "Bug" has lots of blood and guts and rapes and murders. It doesn't. It doesn't need those things to be affective. What it has is realism. What it has is insanity. What it has are probably the two greatest acting performances of the year that will go unnoticed come awards season. "Bug" is nothing short of phenomenal and a modern day masterpiece of schizophrenic film making.

The film opens with Agnes (Ashley Judd) alone in her apartment, receiving phone calls from an anonymous party who just breathes on the other end. She thinks it's her abusive ex-husband, Jerry Goss (Harry Connick, Jr.) who was just released from prison. At work one night, her friend R.C. (Lynn Collins) introduces her to a man named Peter (Michael Shannon). The quiet type, Peter doesn't say much, but when he does, he just seems to ramble in absurdities. Agnes and Peter, however, form an unlikely bond and Agnes allows Peter to stay with her, much to the dismay of her ex-husband, who drops in just long enough to let Agnes know she's not safe anymore. Things get started when Peter starts seeing bugs in Agnes' apartment - 'blood sucking aphids', so he says. At first, Agnes just goes along with Peter, believing him when he says they're everywhere. We soon learn that Peter claims to have been tested upon during his military service and that he's currently on the run from the government. As an audience, we can tell early on that Peter is schizophrenic, but for some reason we still keep searching for the bugs along with the characters. Before too long, Agnes starts seeing the bugs too - everywhere. As Agnes and Peter fortress themselves inside the small apartment, their growing insanity builds and builds to a terrifying conclusion.

To call this movie 'flawless' might be an overstatement, but I'll do it anyways. Flawless. William Friedkin has created a ninety-minute nightmare that never lets up. The final 20 minutes of the film are probably the most intense 20 minutes I've seen on screen in years. Based on an award winning play by Tracy Letts, "Bug" is very much a social commentary. It deals with issues - everything from war and loss to political attacks that are disguised as schizophrenic madness. To say this film has some similarities to our current occupation of Iraq would not be overstepping the mark. It is obvious by watching the film. The bugs invade and take over everything inside the room , and eventually take over the people inside and their minds. By the end, there is only one logical conclusion for the two main characters. "Bug" is brutal and horrific in a very real way. This is very much how paranoid delusionals behave, and it is even more frightening to watch him take someone down with him. Judd's character is still grieving after losing a child and looking for the perfect escape. Abused most of her life, she takes comfort in the first man that doesn't and follows along for his rollercoaster ride of insanity and paranoia. It just seems natural for her to do.

The performances here are extraordinary. Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon are amazing, and their chemistry boils over from their first scene together. They take themselves to some dark places that most actors would never dream of going and they rely on one another for strength. Michael Shannon, who I gave a pretty negative review in "World Trade Center", has silenced me forever. He is electric here. Ashley Judd, who is usually associated with dumb romantic comedies or films with Morgan Freeman about detectives, gives the performance of her career and one of the best female performances I have ever witnessed on screen. Both characters have several monologues in the film that takes so much to accomplish affectively, and they do a remarkable job. In a small supporting role, Harry Connick, Jr. is also very affective, but pales in comparison to the magnificent Brian F. O'Byrne, who takes a five minute role and rocks it out for all its worth. This is a film that relies on its performances for survival, and it may be that "Bug" lives forever.

If you can't tell, I loved this film. I love the fact that William Friedkin has a comeback film on his hands after a string of less than amazing efforts. This is what made "The Exorcist" so memorable. Friedkin has a knack for making the most absurd things work on such a realistic level and scaring the hell out of an audience in his execution. "Bug" takes human nature on with a gusto rarely seen in contemporary film and it doesn't relent - not for one second. It doesn't care how uncomfortable the audience is, and it doesn't care how many nightmares you'll have afterwards. When I watch a film like "Saw" or "Hostel", the violence is so obviously fake and that is primarily due to the fact that the performances are so staged. "Bug" does not work that way. I was worried not only for the characters, but also the actors playing them. These are no-holds-barred performances and they demand attention. "Bug" is the best film of the year. It might be the best overall film I have seen in three of four years. It's amazing. It's absolutely amazing. I urge you to check it out.

grain of sand #1: grain of sand - added 09/26/2007, 09:28 PM
looooooved this one, harry connick jr is a fucking creep and he plays it so well, I found nothing wrong with this movie.. solid review 10/10
Chad #2: Chad - added 09/30/2007, 01:10 AM
Freaking fantastic, and I couldn't agree with this review more. What makes this work so well is that it's actually based on a real psychological disorder (folie à deux), and knowing that there are people out there who go through this sort of thing... well, maybe not to this extent, but I felt that it was an excellent portrayal of how it works, and as mentioned, the performances were perfect. 10/10, easy.
waxtadpole3657 #3: waxtadpole3657 - added 01/04/2008, 08:33 PM
I just picked this up from Best Buy for 10 bucks. I've been wanting to see it for awhile.
Nirrad #4: Nirrad - added 04/05/2008, 01:48 AM
Overall, a really good movie. I just wished the ending explained a little more stuff like who was the Pizza Man, and did they really order it, but forgot? Ah well.
Tristan #5: Tristan - added 10/02/2009, 03:09 PM
I knew what the film was about, but I didn't think it would go as far as it did. It just did not let up. Great performances from Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon, and even Harry Connick Jr was able to pull off his role without looking like an idiot. Those last 20 minutes were really quite intense. I really couldn't find a single thing wrong with this movie. 10/10

On a side note, I don't find the pizza delivery all that confusing. They imagine the phone is ringing, they are cutting themselves up to get rid of "bugs", they tinfoiled the apartment, and they killed a man they thought was a robot. I don't think an imaginary pizza delivery is that much of a stretch.
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