Friday, January 24, 2014

Jug Face

Okay, so like this backwoods, isolated community worships some sort of magic, sentient mud pit/god that demands sacrifices in exchange for its miracles. The town knows who to sacrifice because the local idiot goes into trances where he sculpts clay pots with the face of the sacrificee on them. When one local girl, coincidentally pregnant with her brother's child, sees her face on the newest pot, she hides it to save herself and sets off a chain reaction of tragedy. Got that?

Jug Face is the kind of movie I respected more than enjoyed. It's an offbeat, unique, character driven low budget horror movie that is reasonably well-made, very well acted and really tries to do something new. It's just that this new thing they came up with isn't a very satisfying movie overall. It's nice that you don't always know where the story is going, but not so nice that you stop caring because it doesn't really matter. I guess we are supposed to fear for the safety of the heroine, but her actions are constantly leading to more and more easily avoidable tragedy that it's hard to stay on her side.

Also, it kind of runs into the same problems a lot of horror movies with a religious slant have. It's clear from the get-go that this hole-y holy monster is the real deal; the film isn't playing with any ambiguity or examining notions of faith or leaving you wondering about anything that happens. That might actually make the movie seem tragic and unfair. Instead it's just... if their god really does have these powers, why would the heroine go against it and why would we as an audience want to see that? And in the end, the implicit "message" really seems to be that, yeah, don't cross backwoods gods, it will lead to bad news.

But I respect the effort and, hell, it reunites 2 cast members from Lucky McKee's great The Woman, plus it throws Larry Fessenden and the terrifying beast that used to be Sean Young into the mix, so I can't complain too much.

Rating: C+

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