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3.6 3
Director: William Friedkin

Cast: Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon, Lynn Collins

Academy Award-winning Exorcist director William Friedkin scuttles deep into the darkest recesses of the traumatized human psyche with this tale of a lonely bartender haunted by the long-ago disappearance of her young son, and the paranoia that emerges when she enters into a tentative relationship with


Academy Award-winning Exorcist director William Friedkin scuttles deep into the darkest recesses of the traumatized human psyche with this tale of a lonely bartender haunted by the long-ago disappearance of her young son, and the paranoia that emerges when she enters into a tentative relationship with a deeply disturbed drifter. Adapted from the off-Broadway play by Tracy Letts, Bug centers on Agnes (Ashley Judd), who tends bar alongside pal R.C. (Lynn Collins), and has recently moved into a shoddy roadside motel in hopes of avoiding her menacing and recently paroled ex-husband, Jerry (Harry Connick Jr.). Upon making the acquaintance of subdued former soldier Peter (Michael Shannon, repeating his stage role), a veteran of the first Gulf War, Agnes finally senses that things are looking up. Quietly charming despite his melancholy aura, Peter soon reveals to Agnes that he contracted a "bug" while serving in the Middle East, and that it may have been deliberately administered as part of a secret military medical experiment. Convinced that the microscopic insects are quickly multiplying just under the surface of his skin and that they have now infected Agnes as well, Peter soon descends into a psychotic rage as he resorts to increasingly desperate measures to purge himself of the offending subdermal arthropods.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Horror fans must have been geeked for William Friedkin's return to the genre he helped shape with the seminal 1973 devil possession classic The Exorcist. What may have left some of them cold, and inspired the mixed reaction to Bug, was that this time around, the scary bits are not of the corporeal variety, but more psychological. And rarely has psychological breakdown been wrought so intensely as inside this motel room, where two paranoids (Michael Shannon and Ashley Judd) descend into the mouth of their personal madness. Judd in particular is astonishing, both during her more pensive earlier moments, and in the streams of terrifying babble her henpecked mind produces later on. In some of the most mature work of her career, she might have earned consideration for year-end awards had the film been better received and less stigmatized by its genre. Shannon is the indispensable other half of this mutually destructive pair, spittle flying wildly from his raving mouth. They feed off each other in frightening ways. What's really remarkable is the different moods Friedkin hits. For a long stretch, Bug is a melancholy character piece exploring the miseries of blue-collar life, as Judd's bartender steers clear of an abusive ex (Harry Connick Jr.) and mourns a disappeared child. The film's dramatic change in purpose may inspire criticism that it's uneven or ill-conceived, but the beginning necessarily establishes how these characters' problems are grounded in the real world -- and makes their eventual untethering from that world all the more stark. As the tight staging indicates, Bug began its life as a play (with Shannon as its star). But Friedkin uses his camera as a uniquely cinematic tool, immersing his audience in a claustrophobia they could never experience so intimately while sitting at a fixed distance from the stage.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Lions Gate
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Bug: An introduction ; A discussion with William Friedkin; Audio commentary by director William Friedkin; 16x9 widescreen; 5.1 and 2.0 Dolby Digital audio; English and Spanish subtitles

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ashley Judd Agnes White
Michael Shannon Peter Evans
Lynn Collins R.C.
Brian F. O'Byrne Doctor Sweet
Harry Connick Jerry Goss
Neil Bergeron Man in Grocery Store
Bob Neill Pizza Harris

Technical Credits
William Friedkin Director
Kimberly C. Anderson Executive Producer
Michael Applebaum Camera Operator
Steve Boeddeker Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Burns Producer
Franco-Giacomo Carbone Production Designer
Rafiel Chait Camera Operator
Jay Faires Musical Direction/Supervision
Michael Grady Cinematographer
Jeffrey Haupt Sound/Sound Designer
Gary Huckabay Producer
Tracy Letts Screenwriter
David K. Nami Special Effects Supervisor
Darrin Navarro Editor
Michael Ohoven Executive Producer
Dave Perkal Camera Operator
Malcolm Petal Executive Producer
Michael Salven Asst. Director
Andreas Scharct Producer
Andreas Schardt Producer
Peggy Schnitzer Costumes/Costume Designer
Jim Seibel Executive Producer
Guy Skinner Camera Operator
Bonnie Timmermann Casting,Co-producer
Christien Tinsley Makeup Special Effects
Brian Tyler Score Composer
Bob Vazquez Special Effects Supervisor
Holly Wiersma Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Bug [Special Edition]
1. Rustic Motel [5:53]
2. Little Jumpy [2:59]
3. After Hours [3:33]
4. Looking for a Friend [3:35]
5. Hearing Things [3:08]
6. Place to Stay [3:24]
7. Surprise Visit [2:45]
8. Not Too Happy [3:28]
9. Just Peter [1:56]
10. Not Safe [7:10]
11. Kind of Nice [1:25]
12. Bed Bugs [5:23]
13. Life Tests [6:25]
14. Infested [5:57]
15. Taking Good Care [4:25]
16. Vacancy or No Vacancy [5:00]
17. Millions [4:46]
18. Best Intentions [4:34]
19. Being Watched [5:10]
20. Helping Her [1:02]
21. Faulty Programming [1:26]
22. This Isn't Real [3:19]
23. What Don't You Know? [4:54]
24. Firing Things Up [9:52]


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Bug 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
seeing bug for the first time was like a taking a cold shower. You feel uncomfortable, shaky, and you want it to end. To call it beyond intense would be an understatement as one woman meets a vet who can't stop his imagination. Thinking he sees bugs everywhere, he begins to go insane, taking Judd with her. By the end, you'll be completely scared to death. It's so realistic, so frightening, so creepy good. Better than the exorcist, although it's hardly the same plot. The film is not that scary, but the build up of it all puts you in a euphoria of crazyness. Don't watch this one alone. This is THE SCARIEST film of all time. But it doesn't sink in until the very end...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.