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Bug December 31, 1969

Synopsis: Ashley Judd stars as a lonely waitress in this study in fear and paranoia from director William Friedkin. Aggie lives a largely solitary life in Oklahoma, haunted by a sad past and hounded by her ex-con ex-husband (Harry Connick, Jr., WILL & GRACE). When a female friend and occasional lover introduces Aggie to Peter (Michael Shannon, WORLD TRADE CENTER), it seems she has found her match. The pair enters into a cautious romance, but their dark natures fuel more than just passion. Peter reveals that he was a victim of government experimentation that left blood-hungry aphids crawling under his skin, and the couple begins to obsess over the idea that they could be infected by the insects. Based on Tracy Letts's play, BUG is an effective psychological thriller that gets under the audience's skin. Though the film never takes advantage of the freedom of the screen versus the confines of the stage, setting the action almost entirely within the walls of Aggie's hotel room evokes a claustrophobic feeling. Shannon deftly reprises his role from the stage play with a squirm-inducing mass of tics and twitches, but it's Judd who deserves the bulk of the praise. With her role as Aggie, she leaves behind roles such as the romantic comedy lead of SOMEONE LIKE YOU or the revenge-seeking heroine of DOUBLE JEOPARDY. Instead, she's alternately proud and insecure, fully immersing herself in the part of a woman unlike anyone she has played before. Though Friedkin helmed two of the most notable films of the 1970s with THE EXORCIST and THE FRENCH CONNECTION, he hasn't directed many critical successes since. But with its similarities to the moody work of Roman Polanski, this film could represent a return to form for the veteran director.

Starring: Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr., Michael Shannon
Directed by: William Friedkin
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