Insane Paranoia Corrupts the Soul
Release Date: May 25, 2007
Starring: Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon,
Kynn Collins, Harry Connick,
Jr., and Brian F. O'Byrne
Genre: Horror/Black Comedy
Runtime: 102 minutes
Director: William Friedkin
Executive Producer: Michael Ohoven and Jim Siebel
Producer: Holly Wiersma, Kimberly C.
Anderson, Malcolm Petal, Gary
Huckaby, Michael Burns, and
Writer: Tracy Letts
Address Comments To:John Feltheimer and Peter E. Strauss
AKA Lions Gate Films
2700 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 449-9200
Fax: (310) 255-3870
BUG is a different kind of horror movie. Although it does have some extreme violence, it doesn't rely on that violence. Instead, it alerts most viewers to the delusional insanity of modern-day conspiracy theories. We can only say "most" viewers because one of the critics watching the movie actually bought into some of the paranoid conspiracy theories that the insane lead characters believe. That's because, while the movie intentionally pokes fun at the crazy paranoid delusions of its leads, it does so in a satirical manner that viewers who are not so discerning, including homeless escapees from society's mental institutions, will not be able to get. Thus, the movie's depiction of the paranoid conspiracy theories of the two lead characters probably will have the opposite of its intended effect on some viewers. Since the movie has a violent ending, that means that a few viewers, however small in number, may take the paranoid delusions in this movie and create their own mayhem, harming either themselves or others. By taking an indirect approach, the movie fails to fully accomplish its goal of ridiculing current paranoid conspiracy theories full of false delusions, such as the phony theories that the American government, or the Jews, took down one or more of the World Trade Center towers. All of which gives the world plenty to fear if delusional nuts like Rosie O'Donnell, Charlie Sheen or the mullahs in Iran go see this movie.
In the story, Ashley Judd plays Agnes, a forlorn waitress who dreads the return of her violent ex-husband, recently paroled from prison. One night, her lesbian girlfriend brings over a stranger she met, named Peter. A quiet, quirky man, Peter seems harmless enough. Agnes agrees to let him sleep on her couch at her seedy motel apartment. Her husband does show up but, after threatening Agnes and Peter, tells them he'll be back next week to straighten both of them out.
Peter becomes protective toward Agnes, and the two sleep together. The next morning, Peter begins to have delusions of tiny bugs infesting the apartment. Soon, Peter convinces Agnes about the truth of his paranoid delusions of crazy government conspiracy theories, even when they get more elaborate and bizarre. The delusions end in violence and death, not to mention a complete re-decoration of the motel apartment with aluminum foil.
BUG is a darkly comic, disturbing horror movie. The performances are brilliantly done, with Ashley Judd standing out particularly strong. BUG correctly ridicules conspiracy theories, but some people might not get the joke, and a few mentally disturbed people might be inspired by the movie's depiction of paranoid delusions and violence, including self-inflicted violence. BUG also contains strong sexual references, including references to homosexuality, plenty of strong foul language, and a scene of full male and female nudity. All in all, MOVIEGFUIDE® believes the movie could have made the same points better, more clearly and without all of the excessively obscene content. As box office statistics show year in and year out, Hollywood would make a lot more money if it toned down this kind of graphic content in its movies. For example, the box office smash SIGNS, starring Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix, is a profound and powerfully dramatic scary movie which doesn't use offensive, immoral content like harsh obscenity, explicit nudity, graphic violence, and homosexual themes.
Of course, BUG's ridicule of paranoid conspiracy theories may be applied to all ends of the political spectrum, but most of the delusional conspiracy theories mentioned in the movie seem to be paranoid fantasies cited often in left-wing circles and UFO cults. As we suggested above, the problem is that most of the people in these circles are so wacko and such limited thinkers that they may actually believe some of the paranoid delusions spouted by the two main characters. Our encounter with the one critic at a press screening indicates that may prove to be the case. In fact, when the woman started parroting a couple of the silly conspiracy theories, we jokingly told her that we sold drugs to the Communists during the Vietnam War for the CIA. The woman took us seriously, however, and asked, "Is that really true?" We assured her it was not but she went on regurgitating the paranoid fantasies from the movie she herself believed. It's pretty scary what some people are willing to accept these days.
BUG is a darkly comic, disturbing horror movie. The performances are brilliant, with Judd standing out. BUG correctly ridicules conspiracy theories, but some people might not get the joke, and a few disturbed people might be inspired by the movie's paranoid delusions and violence, including self-inflicted violence. BUG also contains strong sexual references (including homosexuality), plenty of strong foul language, and a scene of full male and female nudity. MOVIEGFUIDE® believes the movie could have made the same points better, more clearly and without all of the excessively obscene, shocking content. As box office statistics annually show, Hollywood would make much more money without such graphic content.