BUG has Agnes, played by Ashley Judd, living in a small, dingy Oklahoma motel where she gets frequent anonymous phone calls, who she suspects is by her ex husband, Jerry, played by Harry Connick Jr. Her lesbian friend, RC, introduces Agnes to Peter, played by Michael Shannon, who right from the bat looks and appears off. From then on, he stays over at Agnes' place and out of loneliness from the both of them, they become romantically and sexually involved together. From the moment they have sex, a whirlwind of paranoia and goosebumps emerge.
Several directors has a certain style; Martin Scorsese is vibrant, fast, foul-mouthed and ambitious. Quentin Tarantino is violent, quirky and disorganized (in a good way). Christopher Nolan is visually stunning, a storyteller and intricately articulate. In Friedkin's case, he is dark (not like David Fincher) but for me, his messages are conflicting. That's an issue with BUG. What was it trying to say?
A definite character study on both Agnes and Peter, both of whom are messed up in their own ways, especially Peter. Shannon makes a horrifyingly convincing portrayal of a mysterious, paranoid self-proclaimed veteran. Whether it involves him complimenting Agnes, telling conspiracy stories or painfully pulling his own teeth off, there is always something odd about Peter. Like a speaker, the more he trusts Agnes, the more crazy he seems.
Agnes is more of a different story; she isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but very lonely. She lost her son years ago and escaped an abusive Jerry, (Connick in an intimidating, southern stance). In all fairness, it would make sense why she gets with Peter so quickly; she was vulnerable and in need of someone to share her pain and Judd gives her character that sense. It is not as raw as Shannon's performance, but still feasible.
In fact, this doesn't feel like it was made by someone forty-plus years in the industry because it's brimming with an energy and a vitality many times reserved for first-timers. This is impossible to categorize and defies all explanations, and at the heart it simply illustrates how contagious paranoia can really be.
This is smarter than all of the "Saw" films combined, and it's led by a pair of powerhouse performances. It's the film that really started by cinematic love affair with Michael Shannon, and it should have been the picture to reignite the cooling career of Ashley Judd. Her transformation here might just be the scariest thing in the film, and Shannon immerses himself in this strange, troubled character in a way that has become his trademark in every picture he's made since this. In the beginning, when you're not quite sure where this is headed, he's charming in a sly and awkward sort of way. However he's completely believable and frightening by the film's end, becoming a dangerously paranoid and cultish snake charmer.
You've never seen anything quite like "Bug" before, and as I left the theater I was visibly shaken by its subversive power. It stays with you long after it's over.
I cant say the same for the rest of the film which is an utter letdown
the premise sounds good but things don't get freaky until after the 1st hour and even then there isn't enough of it going on
it's just explaining and more explaining; have a rule of thumb in movies and in horror: show don't tell
'Splinter' is a better movie because it took real chances to be effective