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Posted October 1, 2010
Like a lot of people I walked into BUG following on the heels of the marketing which sold the film as a horror about... bugs. People trapped in a small space, tin foiled walls, creepy blue lighting, things getting under your skin that should not be there... all wrong (well, almost). Instead BUG is a tight, sparse, threadbare story of people holed up on their own souls being held prisoner by addiction. I sat through three quarters of this film waiting for the monsters to arrive, only to find that I had been watching them from the start. Human monsters, human vices, human horrors - life at the end of pipe. Not the film I signed up for, not the film I was looking for... but, can anything be salvaged from BUG to recommend? Three things... first, the performances are not bad. At times it comes across like a far gritter episode of THE L WORD with flashes of brilliance that really help to sell the idea behind the picture. But, they don't come often, leaving the rest of the film to float along like a block of wood in water. It's dense, often soap opera quality at best and clipped. There are some plot surprises, and if you take the time to piece it all together (and, fair warning, it's not easy when you don't have all the pieces to the puzzle) you will get something out of it. Finally, the direction is not bad. It's tough to take three rooms and somehow make them into film, but Friedkin does it well enough to keep the picture moving. But, in the end, there is very little to BUG worth watching. The ending comes quickly and suddenly and with some surprise, but adds nothing to to what had come before it. Commentary is included with the film and for the blind, this commentary will help, but for the rest of it, Friedkin's habit of telling you exactly what's happening on screen as it's actually happening wastes your time. He does go into some background, does give us some thoughts, but for the majority of the commentary it's too literal to be worth listening to. BUG might have done better to actually have had some bugs in it to help move it along, but as it stands, BUG is a stalled and flawed picture on the state of paranoia and drug use. For the brave only.
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