Thursday, October 09, 2008


We have an annual Halloween tradition at my house. We choose a different horror film to watch each Sunday evening in October. There are no rules. The films range from slasher to quiet to psychological, and from old titles to recent releases. The films can be television originals, small budget independent films, or big budget Hollywood releases. Anything goes.

We usually enter October with a pool of several possible titles and wait to make the actual selections each Sunday evening. This past Sunday we watched William Friedkin’s paranoid film BUG. It is a film that I have mixed feelings about. It went in a direction I wasn’t expecting, but at times it felt overwrought and a little tight. The majority of the film took place in a dingy old motel room; a room that successfully gave me a vague feeling of claustrophobia and as the film moved forward the director, subtly at first and then more overtly as the climax approached, turned into a raw slash of paranoia.

I enjoyed BUG, but there were a few moments when it stalled and it took Friedkin too long to get it restarted. The motives of the characters were successfully portrayed and Ashley Judd did a great job as a lonely and sad woman susceptible to a visiting paranoia. It is an uneven film that is more about ideas than horror—it can be seen as a denouncement of the Iraq War and the War on Terrorism, specifically the paranoia that was generated by certain (unnamed) governments for self benefit.

The description over at Yahoo!Movies reads:

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.

And here’s the trailer…

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