So many Horror flicks drop each year, it’s always difficult separating the average from the extraordinary. But come January, the web is aflutter with Horror aficionados posting their “Best of The Year” lists. Myself included. So now we learn what our respected and reviled peers think “Was a steaming pile of dog shit”, and what actually deserves some attention and accolades. Jug Face is a film I saw mentioned more than once. Find out it stars Lauren Ashley Carter (The Woman) and sports some awesome cover art (below) and I’m more than willing to have a looksee.
So very glad I did.
Read my review after the jump.
Synopsis: The pit has spoken. Dawai, the potter of a backwoods community, has crafted a face on a ceramic jug of the person that the pit wants sacrificed. Ada, pregnant with her brother’s child, has seen her face on the jug and hides it in the woods, determined to save the life of her unborn. If she does not sacrifice herself however, the creature from the pit will kill everyone in the village until she does.
With childlike, animated chalk drawings illustrating a bloody ritual and a moody soundtrack kicking off the opening credits, I could tell right off Jug Face is a winner. It may be 2013, but Ada lives in an isolated Tennessee community that still employs crank phonographs and abides by arranged marriages. They also worship “the Pit”.
The Pit is more than just a muddy (and often bloody) hole in the ground, it’s both God and devil in this throwback hamlet. The Pit answers prayers, makes things rights, and “heals us when we’re sick… Always has”. But it must feed.
Similar in ways to Wake Wood, The Village, and Wicker Man, Jug Face plays out in a community that carries dark secrets and performs bloody rituals. But this film is more than another entry in a sub-genre. Great storytelling combined with great acting makes this a stand-out that should be enjoyed by discriminating aficionados.
At its heart, Jug Face is the story of a young woman living in denial. She doesn’t deny that she’s pregnant with her brother’s child (well, eventually she comes clean), rather she denies that she has an important (albeit twisted) role to play in her community. She denies that her actions have far-reaching consequences. She denies the fact that others will suffer for her fearful deceptions.
She’s selfish—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing from a viewer’s perspective. She’s not only on deck to be sacrificed to a blood-thirsty Pit, she lives in a community that sees her as nothing more than a baby-maker. She has every right to leave, and it’s frustrating when her efforts are thwarted at every turn. But we understand why her family clings so desperately to their old ways, since there community is clearly dwindling towards nonexistence.
Most egregious, from an existential point of view, is Ada’s denial of death itself—because isn’t that what the Pit really is? When she moans, “I don’t want to die,” she denies the most fundamental rule of existence: That all living things must die. This fact is something that can never be outsmarted or outrun. And isn’t THAT why we really watch these films? To imagine ourselves looking into that same abyss and wondering, “What if it were me?” Because inevitably, one day, it will be.
Jug Face is a great film for aficionados who appreciate a moody, atmospheric experience that doesn’t require a happy ending to be considered a worth-while ride.
4 out of 5 Skull-Heads.
|Release Date (Limited/VOD)||July 8 2013|
|Director||Chad Crawford Kinkle|
|Writer||Chad Crawford Kinkle|
|Starring||Lauren Ashley Carter, Sean Bridgers, Larry Fessenden, Daniel Manche|
|Tagline||“The pit wants what it wants.”|