Commercials on TV made this one look like a traditional horror movie centered around a bizarre insect infestation and helmed by the director of The Exorcist. But it's not as advertised ... at all. If you want a title like that, pick up 2006's Slither, a tongue-in-cheek look at a small town overrun by creepy crawlies.
Unlike its misleading promos would lead viewers to believe, Bug is a psychological case study, based on a play by Tracy Letts (who also wrote the screenplay). With the film's extremely limited exposition—the only sets are a seedy motel room and a dive bar—and bizarre monotone dialogue for two-thirds of the film, it reeks of something that succeeded on the stage but perhaps didn't translate to film as well.
Agnes (Ashley Judd) is a woman living a dreary life, perpetually pestered by and fearful of her abusive ex, Jerry (Harry Connick, Jr., Hope Floats). When a drinking buddy brings a stranger with a checkered past (Michael Shannon, World Trade Center) to her house, the two form an odd bond and quickly become ensconced in a world of insects and intrigue.
Judd and Shannon both turn in rather interesting portrayals of characters at odds with the world, but don't be surprised if this film is much more of a hit with psychology professors than horror fans. Unless one is in a decidedly contemplative mood, the theme is almost too much to process.
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