Shocking Saturday: Bug

The film that I viewed for this weeks Shocking Saturday was absolutely superb, although not an all round horror – more of a psychological thriller, it still had horrific parts to it and was very enjoyable. Plus the fact that it is was directed by William Friedkin (director of The Exorcist) enticed me even more.

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The story centres around Agnes (Ashley Judd) who is living a lonely life in a motel room, drinking, smoking, doing drugs and living in fear of her violent ex-husband. After her child went missing 10 years ago she lets the days pass by without a thought. That is until she is introduced to Peter (Michael Shannon) who explains that all he is looking for is a friend to talk to. Although when the two talk there are a lot of awkward moments, Agnes still lets him stay with her. As the two become closer, she learns of Peter’s terrifying past and wants to help him in any way she can. That begins to proves difficult as Peter starts to complain about there being Aphids (a type of plant lice) crawling about in her room and biting him at night. At first it just appears to be a harmless bug infestation, but as the bug bites become more present and violent, it seems that something more sinister is at work here. Agnes has two options, believe Peter and think there are bugs crawling all over the room and under their skin, or consider the fact that it is all in his mind.

The film not only makes Agnes try to determine what is real and what is not, but is also makes the audience try to decipher between what is a delusion and what is reality. As we try to find out what is happening, ‘Bug’ makes us believe that what Peter is saying is true, and that perhaps he isn’t just a psychotic schizophrenic.

What really carries this film are the stellar performances from Michael Shannon and Ashley Judd. As Agnes (Judd) spends more and more time with Peter (Shannon) she begins to spiral down in to his madness and believe every word that he is saying. Judd did such a great job in showing this, from a lonely, single and probably alcoholic woman to a delusional, paranoid woman.

However it has to said that it is the performance of Michael Shannon which steals the show here. First coming across as a timid, awkward conspiracy theorist and evolving throughout the film in to a full-blown schizophrenic, who will do anything to himself to stop these bugs. Although we don’t want him to take Agnes down as well, when we first meet him his velvety-toned voice and the fact that he only wants a friend makes us sympathise with him, and continue to as the film goes on.

Michael Shannon is one of my favourite actors, I have seen him gradually go up on the silver screen since the early 2000s and always knew that his amazing acting capabilities would eventually be noticed. Now they have been, as his most recent role was as General Zod in the new ‘Man of Steel’ film. Throughout the years he has starred in: Pearl Harbor, 8 Mile, Bad Boys 2, Revolutionary Road, Boardwalk Empire and The Iceman among others.

‘Bug’ proves that William Friedkin can still shock viewers even after all these years. The Exorcist terrified audiences all over the world in 1973 and although viewers have become more desensitized to horror films since then, Bug proves that the genre still has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Tag Line: Paranoia Is Contagious.

Horror Rating: (:-O) (:-O) (:-O)

Star Rating:

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5 Great Horror Films to Watch on Halloween

What better for the first post on my new horror blog, than one detailing some great shockers which will have you biting your nails until the break of dawn. I tried to pick some classics and a few more recent flicks to give you a varied choice.

1. The Exorcist 1973

The film which shocked so many audiences in the early seventies, so much so that cinemas actually gave out barf-bags to customers to stop them throwing up all over their floors. A young girl, Regan, has been possessed by a violent demon, which refuses to leave her alone. So her mother requests help from two priests. However this seems to make things worse – even though it does make for some great scenes, including a backwards crab walk. Although the exorcism story line has been done to death these days, back then it was brand new to the horror genre; that probably being the reason why it terrified the world over, along with the repetition of the word c*** from a little girl’s mouth. It still sends the same chills down your spine as it did on its release, a truly great classic of horror cinema.

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2. V/H/S 2012

Paranormal Activity may have brought the found footage themed film back to cinemas, but after 4 films (each one being worse than its predecessor) it has fizzled out. V/H/S offers so much more than just a typical hand-held camera horror; one of the main reasons is that it is an anthology film, therefore it tells five stories through out its hour and a half run time instead of one. Each story is more shocking than the last, and they were all directed by different people, making the plots very varied, which helps to keep you enthralled in the film. You really have to view V/H/S to understand how great it is; it’s definitely one of my favourite horror films and for any horror fans out there, believe me. The gore is top-notch, the plots/characters keep you hooked and there are quite a few jumps to look forward to. Demons, ghosts, entities and murderers – this film has everything.

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3. 30 Days of Night 2007

Not so much a scary film, it just plays such a great part in the horror genre. The idea is so inventive as well, like nothing you will have seen before. Every year, Barrow, Alaska – a remote isolated town – is thrust into darkness for 30 days. Most residents leave, but a few decide to stay, unbeknownst to them that this year a clan of vampires have decided to feed on the town, sucking it completely dry. The locals fight back in any way they can to survive the month of darkness. There are hundreds of vampire films out there, but this one looks at the creatures completely different, making them much more violent than we have ever seen them before. The amount of incredible scenes in this film is just ridiculous. Josh Hartnett with an axe and buckets of blood…what more could you ask for.

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4. Night of the Living Dead 1968

The original zombie-fest which inspired so many horror films after it. George A. Romero’s masterpiece is a landmark in horror cinema; mainly because it just shows the amount of fear which can be produced with such a low-budget and barely any actors. After a woman is attacked by an assailant in a graveyard she flees to a farmhouse, where later on our protagonist Ben turns up and explains that the dead are returning to life and are feasting upon the living. They board up the windows and arm themselves with what ever they can and try to make it through the night. One of the greatest films in horror and cinema in general, which can only be fully enjoyed on all Hallows eve. “They’re coming to get you Barbara!”

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5. Halloween 1978

How could I have a ‘Films to Watch On Halloween’ list without this incredible flick. John Carpenter’s slasher has inspired and scared so many ever since its release, due to the terrifying murderer Michael Myers who will forever haunt our dreams. Michael Myers has been institutionalized since he was 10; now that he has escaped he is making his way back to his home town of Haddonfield, Illinois to track down and kill his younger sister Laurie, slaughtering anyone he comes across on the way. It is because of this film that we never want to baby sit again, and will constantly see that emotionless white mask in our nightmares. The essential watch on Halloween night.

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There you go 5 great horror films to keep you going until sunrise…Happy Halloween.