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Movie Review

Bug

MPAA Rating: R for some strong violence, sexuality, nudity, language and drug use

Reviewed by: Bob Rossiter
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults and Older Teens
Genre:
Drama, Psychological Thriller Adaptation
Length:
1 hr. 41 min.
Year of Release:
2007
USA Release:
May 25, 2007 (wide)
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Copyright, Lions Gate Films
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Lions Gate Films

Insects of the Bible

Fear, Anxiety and Worry… What does the Bible say? Answer

What’s wrong with being gay? Answer
Homosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid?

What about gays needs to change? Answer
It may not be what you think.

What does the Bible say about same sex marriages? Answer

Can a gay or lesbian person go to heaven? Answer
If a homosexual accepts Jesus into his heart, but does not want to change his lifestyle, can he/she still go to Heaven?

What should be the attitude of the church toward homosexuals and homosexuality? Answer

Read stories about those who have struggled with homosexuality

Featuring: Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr., Lynn Collins, Brían O'Byrne, Michael Shannon
Director: William Friedkin—“The Exorcist,” ,“The French Connection,” “Rules of Engagement
Producer: Michael C. Ohoven, Jim Siebel, J. Malcolm Petal
Distributor: Lionsgate Films

“Paranoia is contagious.”

* Due to the content of the movie some of this review may not be suitable for younger readers.

I really enjoy thrillers. There’s just something about a movie that leaves you guessing about the end right up to the closing credits. You may know who the villain is, but the film makers have done their job adding scenes that make you unsure. “Bug” isn’t that kind of movie. There’s nothing surprising from beginning to end. I’m not sure why some critics have called the end surprising and disturbing. It is simply a natural consequence of sin in the world.

The one thing that does disturb me is that there isn’t a single, positive role model throughout the movie. Of the two main characters, Peter is supposed to be a psychotic ex-soldier and Agnes appears to be a bi-sexual that has her own mental and emotional problems. After that comes Jerry as Agnes’ abusive ex-husband, Dr. Sweet is a conniving… (military doctor?) who can’t be trusted and R.C. is Agnes’ lesbian friend and coworker.

There isn’t really a lot that can be said about the plot. Agnes (Ashley Judd) is a waitress at a tavern and lives in a rundown rural motel. After her ex-husband gets out of prison he begins making harassing phone calls to her. R.C. (Lynn Collins) introduces Agnes to Peter (Michael Shannon), but also wants to have her own sexual relationship with her. The two women exchange intimate touches and kisses. It doesn’t take long to realize that Peter has some serious mental issues, but Agnes keeps getting more taken in by him and his emotional instability. It gets even worse when the two of them start seeing bugs in their room. R.C., Jerry and Dr. Sweet each try to get Agnes and Peter separated, but to no avail. R.C. is the most stable character in the movie. When she tries to get Agnes away from Peter, however, she does so more like a jilted lover than a true friend.

I guess you could sum up the plot this way. A drifter moves in with a girl. The drifter sees bugs but the girl doesn’t. The more bugs the drifter finds, the more the girl does as well, but no one else sees bugs. The girls “friends” try harder and harder to get her away from the drifter until… (sorry no spoilers).

Horror fans will be greatly disappointed because there are more horror elements in a lot of action or even drama movies than in “Bug”. That said, there are two scenes of horror in the film. The first is when Peter realizes the military planted a bug’s egg sack under his tooth. We watch him yanking it out using pliers with bloody results. The next is when Dr. Sweet visits the home trying to get Peter back. Peter stabs him several times and tries to show Agnes that the doctor is really a robot made of synthetic material. The movie has no lack of foul language, and the F-word is the most prevalent, being used more than 60 times. There are at least 60 other cuss words as well, including about 20 misuses of God’s name.

The number of minutes spent on real or implied nudity seemed to far outweigh the time spent on horror scenes. The two major scenes of the movie have both the main characters walking around in the buff or having sex. Some of this is implied, but we still see full male and female rear nudity a few times, and a naked couple having sex once. There is also female frontal nudity above the waist and full frontal male nudity. The man’s genital area, however, is obscured by lighting, and what is seen is a silhouette.

The whole premise of “Bug” is about relationships—not little creatures on the skin. As such, its teaching is contrary to what God says we are supposed to be like. The movie seems to say that no one can be trusted. And while it is true that we can’t go beyond reason in regard to trusting other people, there are people who are trustworthy around us. And even more so, there is one we can trust 100% of the time—Jesus Christ.

I wouldn’t recommend this movie to anyone. Those who like the horror or thriller genres will probably be disappointed, and wish they had their money back. Also, the language and sex/nudity attacks the senses too much to make it enjoyable. It would be better to go out and watch one of the blockbusters.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—First, let’s not condemn a movie because of sex, drugs, and homosexuality. That is idiotic. If you’re a mature adult, then you’ll see the actuality of the movie, and not the absence of innocence. If you’re wanting puppies and sunshine, go see Shrek, but if you’re looking for a horror film, this movie is great. It has no actual use of God, but that wasn’t the point. The point of a horror film is not that God saves the day. It was the fright that you get from it. I loved this movie. I was able to overlook the drugs and sex. It was A+ material
My Ratings: Good / 5
—Nestor, age 19
Positive—I saw this film with my husband and we had to completely different views on it. He enjoys horror films for the sake of horror. He takes movies at face value. I, on the other hand, look for the underlying message in a film. Perhaps it comes from my background in philosophy or maybe I am just analytical. Whatever the case, he and I each got something different from this movie.

I saw it as a very true statement that paranoia can be contagious. The main character, Agnes, was already in a rather weakened emotional state because of losing her child and from having an abusive ex husband. It seemed that she was looking for something (remember her holding the Magic 8 Ball?). She wanted fulfillment, and when the crazy guy shows her some tenderness she falls for him hook, line and sinker. Recall the scene where she talks about having such deep feelings for him even thought they had only had sex one time. It was not about the sex, it was about her need to be loved and accepted. It was also about how love and a need to be loved can cause us to lose ourselves and to become manipulated by the person who loves us. She was an emotional hostage to her abusive ex-husband but the nature of his abuse was brutal and she was able to see that she should get away and was able to find the courage to escape. more »
My Ratings: Offensive / 3
—Stephanie Partridge, age 40
Positive—I watched this movie stemmed from curiosity due to watching a live excerpt and reenactment of the original stage play during an acting seminar I attended at Beverly Hills Playhouse, and all I can say is YIKES! This movie was very good, but also very disturbing, yet it realistically shows what happens when two lost, troubled and unstable people come together—and the results, especially in the context scenario of Peter and Agnes, are deadly, even fatal. Yes, the plot is simple: woman haunted by her past meets guy who is also haunted by his past, they start a relationship and bad things start happening.

Again, yes, the plot is simple and has elements of stuff we’ve seen before, story and characterization wise. However, it’s what happens in the midst of it and how it unfolds is what makes this story different… as well as terrifying. That said, more than anything this is more of a psychological thriller/drama, character study and cautionary tale showing two people who were lost, troubled, tormented and unbalanced and in desperate need of Christ, the Only One who could heal the deep seated emotional, mental, spiritual and psychological wounds that pervasively haunted them 24/7 and make their relationship stable, but instead it was riddled with anxiety, paranoia, unhealthy codependency, delusions and volatility that plagued their minds and influenced their actions so much to where it led them to commit heavy acts of self harm on themselves and one another (REALLY hard to watch!), and it ***SPOILER*** eventually lead to their deaths. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Kyria, age 22 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—I agree with most of the reviewers comments except that no Christian should view this film. I think that is a personal conviction, and depends greatly on the individual’s spiritual maturity, and what things harm his or her spirit. Yes, this was an extremely hard film to watch, and I wouldn’t recommend it to 95% of my Christian friends and family. But for those that appreciate extraordinary acting, directing, and cinematography in a play-like setting, and extremely engrossing psychological dramas along the lines of “conspiracy theory” and can tolerate the language, nudity, and brief gore-you might want to give it a chance. I’m not necessarily glad I saw it, but I appreciated all that went into it when I was watching it, esp. Ashley Judd’s performance—it is reminiscent of Charlize Theron’s in “Monster.” Very disturbing-but it’s intended to be so, and I was totally sucked in by the storyline and the characters’ motivations.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4½
—David Momberg, age 45
Negative
Negative—My husband and I were shocked to find out how much nudity and sexual content allowed in an “R” movie. The movie was chock full of foul language and countless misuses of God’s name. We were left still looking for the plot in the movie. We figured with well known actors like Ashley Judd and Harry Conick, Jr., it would be a pretty good movie. We were very wrong! I can’t find anything positive about this film. We found many issues disturbing like the lesbian theme… what was that about? There was no “hero” in the movie, evey character was a villan in someway. If you are looking for an exciting thriller… Don’t See This Movie! There is no plots, it is very slow and boring, and very sexually explicit. You’ll be left disturbed, angry, and wanting your money back.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 2
—Cindy R., age 31
Negative—I like horror movies. I viewed the trailer, and it looked like an exciting movie about people getting infected by some infectious bug. I have learned the hard way that trailers can make any movie look good, but this was false advertising as far as I am concerned. To enjoy a movie you have to be able to associate or feel empathy for at least one of the characters, and I was not able to be sympathetic with any of them in this movie. Ashley Judd’s character Agnes is a drunk, crack smoking, bar maid that snorts cocaine and lives in a dumpy motel. She works at some Lesbian bar and is (or may be) having a lesbian relationship with another woman at the bar who lives with another woman.

The other main character is Peter a homeless man that her lesbian (lover/friend) brings over. He is a loon who thinks bug sacks have been implanted in his teeth. The next main character is Jerry Agnes’s ex husband (boyfriend?) who I actually started wishing would just kill Agnes and Peter by the end of the movie to shut them up. So instead of a horror movie, as the trailer says (it does not imply, it states that it is a horror movie) we get a supposed psychological thriller. I started getting bored after about 15 minutes into the movie and started looking at my watch every few minutes and berating myself for actually paying money to watch this utter piece of garbage. The acting was good; it was just the movie was very very boring. Now I find out that it is based on a play. No wonder is was dull. I would have my name redacted from any documentation if I have anything to do with this stinker.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3
—Terry D Stout, age 44
Negative—I am not one to codemn a movie that has an underlying value due to it being laced with drugs/violence/sex, but… I also don’t try to pretend that a movie is “deep” or “thoughtful” just because it is a chaotic mass of violence, profanity, and sex/nudity. This movie reminds me a lot of “Requiem for a Dream;” it just is not nearly as moving, or effective. The whole idea of the film is weak. Is it about a couple of lonely crank addicts as it seems to be, if so you really could do better. This movie to me just did not fit into any genre. If the intent was to disturb, it was ineffective. If the intent was to be thoughtful, again it was weak. Throughout the whole film you have this feeling of waiting for something to happen, and at the end… nothing. Weak. I would definitely not recommend this movie for anyone—not scary, not thoughtful, not worth it.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 3½
—Rock, age 26
Comments from young people
Neutral—this movie was a trip I watched it with my fiance and it was scary cause it made you think that maybe the goverment really is watching us I was freaked out by it but it was defiantly a good movie even though the ending didn’t make much sense
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Casey, age 18
Negative—I saw this movie with some friends expecting a fully satisfying thriller. The commercials were completely misleading. This was probably one of the most boring and unexciting movies I have seen all year. “Bug” doesn’t really have a plotline seeming stuck in this psychotic timeline where everything appears the same except the slow development of insanity and schizophrenia in the main characters.

The sex scenes where really graphic and there was a large amount of unneeded nudity throughout the film. Nudity is usually never needed in a quality film, unless its making a point across like showing humiliation of the character or such, but for about ten minutes Peter merely walks around naked on screen looking for invisible bugs. Agnes and Peter as well as the three other characters you see throughout the entire movie show no signs of ever believing or having believed in God.

This is greatly disappointing cause I believe that this could have easily been made into a film promoting faith in God as the key to moving past loss, regret, hatred, fear and sadness. All of these emotions are prominent throughout the film. There is a large amount of drug use in the movie; use of alcohol is also prevalent. The incredible amounts of vulgarity and swearing do nothing for this movie except roughen the edges of a otherwise blankly developed film. I wouldn’t recommend this movie for anyone, young, old, Christian or non-Christian. I fully believe this movie was a waste of two hours and ten dollars.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 2
—Chelsey, age 16