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Bug (2006)



Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 131
Fresh: 80 | Rotten: 51

Disappointing resolution aside, Bug uses its claustrophobic setting and cinéma vérité camerawork to tense, impressive effect.


Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 43
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 14

Disappointing resolution aside, Bug uses its claustrophobic setting and cinéma vérité camerawork to tense, impressive effect.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.5/5
User Ratings: 356,121

My Rating

Movie Info

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


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Tracy Letts

Sep 25, 2007


Lionsgate Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (134) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (80) | Rotten (51) | DVD (14)

Friedkin's ability to ratchet up the tension without losing sight of the play's human element goes a long way. He's delivered a properly paranoid love story for a very paranoid age.

June 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beat by beat, Bug is gripping: It has that feverish compression of great theater, but director William Friedkin gets inside it, so it's never stagy.

May 29, 2007 | Comments (2)
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A film of excruciating intensity, a psychodrama that infects the imagination.

May 25, 2007
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is a movie about the dangers of letting love rob you of your reason and cut you off from the world, and, bugs in the bloodstream or not, who hasn't been there?

May 25, 2007 Full Review Source: Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon (who reprises his stage persona) never allow us to categorize the main characters as one-dimensional nut jobs but two emotionally fractured souls who retreat into paranoid delusion.

May 25, 2007 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bug won't get under your skin as much as it will assault you with its ghastly claustrophobic drama and over-the-top performances.

May 25, 2007 Full Review Source: USA Today
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Claustrophobic paranoia provides the squishy center of Tracy Letts's Off Broadway play, Friedkin swims in it

August 27, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

While not really a "horror" film, "Bug" contains more weirdness, tension and suspense than most other "genre" releases last year.

May 2, 2008 Full Review Source:

Letts' story is ultimately an extreme cautionary tale about how a little bit of passion can make you do magnificently fucked-up things.

March 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Washington City Paper
Washington City Paper

Before it completely goes off the rails in its final 20 minutes, Bug generally comes off as a slow-moving yet exceedingly well-acted drama...

December 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

It starts off like a horror film, or like a modern-day Tennessee Williams piece and then transmutes into ... something very different indeed.

November 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

The dialogue raises the odd snigger and the final act is perhaps a little too barmy, but a committed cast and an experienced director make this a tense and effectively claustrophobic experience.

November 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Thanks to Friedkin's devilish direction, and Letts's unrelenting, sharp, sad and darkly comic writing, Bug will keep you guessing till the bloody end.

September 28, 2007 Full Review Source:

Melodramati%u010Dni, isforsirani i predvidljivi zavr%u0161etak

September 28, 2007 Full Review Source:

An exemplary character-driven chamber drama like we don't see much of in America.

September 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

A freakishly metaphorical look at the self-destructive implications of paranoia gone awry.

July 3, 2007 Full Review Source: Projection Booth
Projection Booth

Friedkin's best film in at least two decades.

June 25, 2007 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Bug is more cerebral than visceral so those expecting a more traditional chiller may be disappointed. But for those interested in a creepy character study, this Bug has bite.

June 22, 2007 Full Review Source: IGN Movies
IGN Movies

Overly metaphorical but at least uncompromising -- a surefire crowd-nonpleaser.

June 19, 2007
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

A disaster on every level.

June 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Zertinet Movies | Comments (7)
Zertinet Movies start to wonder what Friedkin has been doing for the past 30 years. From the look of "Bug," I'd have ventured not a darn thing.

June 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Nolan's Pop Culture Review

a claustrophobic thriller that slowly and methodically peels away layers of normality until we are trapped in a contagious delusion made frightening literal

June 9, 2007 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

The final quarter of the film is actually rather bloody, almost living up to the promise of the trailer. It's actually rather subtle for a horror flick, but is really good just the same.

June 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Greenwich Village Gazette
Greenwich Village Gazette

...has the air of acting class exercises rather than a work of real emotional resonance...

June 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Try as it may, Bug never really gets under your skin.

June 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

The result, then, is that little here is psychologically engaging for the viewer. Instead, to witness vulnerable Agnes being pulled into a vortex of delusion and paranoia is akin to watching a car wreck.

June 7, 2007
Boxoffice Magazine

Audience Reviews for Bug

Michael Shannon is frighteningly believable and is fast becoming the go to man for intense bad guy/mentally unstable/nut jobs. He's no one trick pony though as he displays a range of roles and emotions here. I wasn't interested in Bug on its release but both Shannon and Friedkin convinced me it couldn't be too bad but only after I watched Killer Joe and realised that the great director is still great. It's the best psychological thriller I've seen in years, one of the best ever in fact. The spiral of madness doesn't seem too unbelievable either, for once the reason makes sense. Overlooked, underrated and misunderstood, it's a great theatrical piece, full of great performance and originality.
April 12, 2013

Super Reviewer

My high rating comes from the film's direction and the acting rather than the film's story. Director William Friedkin sets up an insane scenario for the actors and allows them to one up each other until the end. Basically, Michael Shannon and Ashley Judd are acting their hearts out in this tale claustrophobic nightmare. Bug is a dark story that may seem dumb to some but brilliant to others.
December 6, 2012
paul o.
paul oh

Super Reviewer

'Bug' concerns Agnes White (Ashley Judd), a lonely woman living in a motel room who meets Peter Evans (Michael Shannon), an unnerving but apparently good willed war veteran. However Peter soon has explosions of mania, claiming conspiracy and evil government corruption.

The film is a disturbing look at total madness and paranoia, a look at how the disillusioned reason with themselves until they are driven to total and utter insanity. The final thirty minutes of this film are truly captivating, I was so engrossed by the intensity that it had ended before I knew it. It's rare that a film set in such a confined environment can be so gripping. One problem I had with the film was the rate at which Agnes is indoctrinated by Peter; it's slightly implausible considering that she seems to be a rational, measured woman.

The performances are excellent. William Friedkin's trademark ease- inducing presence shows in the lead actors' total unhinged lunacy in the final act; it takes a special working environment to unwind so completely.

It's likely to polarise audiences, but I found it a powerful, taut film that compels and disgusts you.
December 2, 2012
Jack Hawkins
Jack Hawkins

Super Reviewer

A ballsy, ambitious little horror film that has potential but never reaches it, concerning a lonely bartender (Ashley Judd) who takes in a troubled drifter (Michael Shannon), unbeknownst to her that his problems are much more severe than she first perceives. It is no surprise that this film was originally performed on stage, as most of the events take place in a dainty motel that gives the story a claustrophobic feel. Sadly, given all the great camera work and chilling atmosphere, the plot just does not ring true at all. If this movie was going for satire or really, really dark comedy, which it hints it is given the utter ridiculousness of the finale, it fails miserably. The acting is over-the-top, but I suspect legendary director William Friedkin wanted this to be the case. For whatever reason, I could not get into it, although I will admit it had me interested as to where it all was going, the acting and some of the scenes just did not ring true, especially the change in character Ashley Judd goes through, I just did not buy it for a second. Disappointing given Friedkin's reputation, and although he gets aspects of it right, the plot just never hooks as hard as it should into the viewer, at least for me.
October 26, 2012
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

    1. Agnes White: I am the super mother bug!
    – Submitted by Rawballs B (13 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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