Bug

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Year: 2006 (released 2007)

Writer: Tracy Letts (based on his play)

Director: William Friedkin

Budget: $4 million (estimated)

Domestic Gross: $7 006 708

so, how many of you knew that william friedkin had even released a movie last year?  i didn't.  i had kind of heard of the movie, Bug, but i don't remember seeing any trailers or anything and especially any mention of friendken, as that is something that i think i would have remembered. 

needless to say, it was only recently that i heard talk of Bug (i don't remember where) and it enticed me enough to want to check it out. 

the script was written by tracy letts, based on his play.  the film stars ashley judd as agnes, a lonely waitress living in a rundown motel.  her abusive ex-husband has been recently released from jail, and her lesbian co-worker has introduced her to  peter, michael shannon, a strange drifter.  they become friends and then the 'bugs' arrive. 

no, this is not some horror thing ala Eight Legged Freaks with big bugs they have to fight.  rather this is much more of a psychological horror/thriller about reality, psychosis, loneliness and fear. 

the film, based on a play, has a very claustrophobic feel to it, with 95% of it taking place in agnes's motel room. and as things descend further and further into madness it feels like the room is just slowly closing in on them.

i also have to mention the two leads.  both ashley and michael are very good in this film and i am normally not a big fan of miss judd's.  this time, however, she really pulls it off and there is a really great scene near the end where she just goes off and has this crazy monologue and its just great.

another thing i liked about the film and the script was that it wasn't all about trying to figure out if peter was crazy or not.  so many times these kinds of films rely on the audience not being sure who to believe.  here there is of course a little of that, but i think that just goes to our skeptical human nature.  besides that though, once things start to go, you are pretty sure you know what the truth is.  what that does, is focus the story and our attention on the characters and their descent into crazy and, on ashley judd's part, her conversion and descent given her need to have someone to love.

friendkin has made some great films in the past (The Exorcist, The French Connection) and some really bad ones as well (Jade).  in fact, it has been awhile since he has done anything worth really talking about, until now.  Bug was probably the least promoted film he has done in many years, but it is also one of the best.

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