What’s it About?
Jug Face tells the story of a pregnant teen trying to escape a backwoods community when she discovers that she may be sacrificed to a creature in a pit.
Directed by Chad Crawford Kinkle
8 out of 10
Vic’s Note: I would like to thank my friend, “The Black Saint” – ( http://horrornews.net/author/the-black-saint/ ) for recommending this title. I really enjoyed the movie and The Saint never steers me wrong! Thanks, man!
Vic’s Note: “Jug Face” is currently available on Netflix for Instant Streaming!
“Jug Face” was a damn good surprise. Using a creative spin on a gritty backwoods thriller that is parts “Wicker Man,” “The Lottery” and part “The Village.” This interesting movie from director Chad Crawford Kinkle (Organ Grinder) is a refreshing ghost / creature feature. A movie that involves a very small community of backwoods southern pagans that worship a deity that resides in a bloody pit in the isolated region. The film is from Andrew van den Houten, the CEO of Modernciné and Robert Tonino.
The screenplay is brilliantly written by Kinkle, himself. Kinkle weaves an almost Arthur Miller-ish story that revolves around a young girl named Ada, played by the wide eyed and capable Lauren Ashley Carter (Premium Rush), who engages in some pretty taboo behavior with her own sibling. She is immediately thereafter chosen by the creature in the “Pit” to be sacrificed after a simpleton sculptor and her best friend named Dawai (Sean Bridgers from “The Woman”) creates a “jug” (designed by potter and sculptor, Jason Mahlke) with Ada’s face on it.
It seems that whenever Dawai goes into a sort of trance which glazes his eyes over and sends him into a fit, he gets a vision of who is next and sculpts a Jug with the visage of the person who is to be sacrificed. Ada, being a curious if somewhat naive young woman comes upon the Jug and tosses it into the woods to avoid it from being seen by the townsfolk.
After she does strange things begin to happen to not only Ada but others around her as well. Ada begins to “see” some mysterious entity begin to attack locals and at one point Dawai creates another Jug with the face of a young man that Ada was to be married to by arrangement. Ada eventually figures out that she is pregnant by her brother after stealing a pregnancy kit from the town pharmacy.
Actress Sean Young (Blade Runner) is stunning to watch here as Ada’s fanatically possessive and overbearing mother named Loriss. Loriss finds out about the pregnancy along with Ada’s sometime sympathetic father, Sustin. They freak out and charge over to Dawai’s to blame the pregnancy on him. More deaths occur and the townspeople are lunged into danger.
Kinkle’s cast and his compelling story of survival make for a satisfying and weighty picture of these simple people who live in the past. They never go into town unless to sell moonshine to the local pharmacist. They keep to themselves and they feel justified in believing that some “monster” needs to be appeased and they have no compunction in having to sacrifice innocent people to some being in a pit. They even believe the pit can either heal or destroy based on the character of the person. (At one point, Ada’s sick brother is sent into the pit to help with his “fever.”) Only Ada sees things differently.
After mental and physical clashes with her mother, Loriss, Ada tries to find a way out of this trouble she is in in order to save Dawai and her unborn child. Kinkle provides some chills as Ada is able to “see” a strange apparition who is somehow involved with her ill and aging Grandfather in a side story that has bearing. These scenes with Ada interacting with the ghostly figure of a young boy seem just a tad out of place. The ghost is a poorly rendered being that is never really scary and the weird “Devil’s Backbone” vibe doesn’t gel, but it never really distracts.
Plus the glimpses of the “monster” going after the locals one by one are a bit hokey and cliche but if not for Kinkle getting the most from the story of Ada and the brilliant casting of Young, Carter and Bridger I feel the movie would have been more of an inadequate monster movie with some interesting flourishes. Fortunately, that is not the case here.
Kinkle’s choice of Composer Sean Spillane (The Woman) is inspired as he provides a slow burn score of appropriate southern gothic style trappings using guitars and the like. The film is also shot very fluently and deftly using interesting compositions by Chris Heinrich (Tron: Legacy). Kinkle unfolds his thriller nicely and for a story that may have been silly and un-effective I must commend Kinkle for making “jug Face” an involving movie that is brisk, inventive and well acted. It is gory but not at all excessive.
“Jug Face” provides a “slice of life” look into an amazing tapestry of terror, coming of age, taboos and desperation all the while making the production look beautifully elegant and simple. The story explores the characters and with the help of the wonderful actors here (Sean Young is a delight to watch as a crazed foul mouthed Mom) Kinkle’s “Jug Face” celebrates the return of originality to the horror genre. And that ain’t bad. Recommended!