Bug (2006, William Friedkin)

The “stars” are Ashley Judd (Frida, Heat) as a hopeless burnout and Harry Connick Jr. (Excess Baggage, Mad About The Mouse) as her abusive ex just out of jail, but the star performance here is by Michael Shannon as a single dude who shows up one day wanting to be Ashley’s friend and ending up in bed with her.

right: H.C. Jr.

That’s when the part I knew from the trailer kicks in… new dude (Peter) sees bugs. They are in the hotel room, in the air and under their skin. He watches ’em with a kids’ microscope, sprays the place constantly and talks about the secret government project that unleashed the bugs upon him, while Ashley confides about her missing son and bad husband, and clings more and more to Peter.

Turns out there are (probably) no bugs – Peter is a bug-crazy paranoid lunatic, and Ashley is so love-desperate she starts to see what he sees. At the end after Peter knifes his doctor who comes to talk sense into him, he easily convinces Ashley they should set themselves on fire.

Doctor threatened with knife! Peter all bloody! Walls covered in tinfoil!

Movie looks real good. Not particularly tense or scary, but the crazy, oh there is so much good crazy. Camera stays on our heroes, gets shaky and blue when Peter hallucinates helicopter-spies. Based on a play – no surprise there, given the movie’s single location (not counting a few flashbacks). As for Friedkin, he made French Connection, Exorcist, then ten+ movies that everyone’s either forgotten or wish they had forgotten. This is a good adaptation, an exciting movie, but nobody oughtta claim the Second Coming of Freidkin unless he pulls it off again.

Ashley’s head hurts from looking at imaginary bugs

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