and pottery are a wicked combination.
One young woman living in a hillbilly cult understands that only too
well. She knows the kiln tolls for her
in Chad Crawford Kinkle’s Jug Face (trailer here), a Modernciné
production which premiered last night at the 2013 Slamdance Film Festival.
pit wants what it wants.” In return, it
cures members of the hardscrabble hill country community. That was how their grandpappies survived the
great cholera outbreak. All that is
required is a periodic sacrifice. They
will know who has been chosen from the special jugs the designated potter casts
in a state of paranormal ecstasy. Ada
was supposed to be next, but she chanced upon her jug face before Dawai came
out of his pit-induced stupor. Stashing
it in the woods, Ada is determined live—not just for herself, but also for her
child would that be? Take a lurid
guess. It is not Dawai’s, unfortunately,
since he’s not a bad chap, really. Nor
is the boy to whom she is to be “joined” the father (a term that sounds
uncomfortably Human Centipede
like). The answer will be pretty easy to
guess, given general filmmaker attitudes towards rural border state
residents. Ada is definitely in for a
hard go of things and the deadly visions she gets from the pit will not help.
Jug Face is southern gothic exploitation
fare, which co-star and Glass Eye Pix producer Larry Fessenden certainly
understands. As Ada’s cult leader father
Sustin, he is not nearly as loathsome or malevolent as one might expect. He might even be half-human. In the lead, Lauren Ashley Carter’s eyes are
almost supernaturally wide. Her Ada is
also reasonably down to earth for a sheltered cult-child. Looking not unlike Will Ferrell on a below
average morning, Sean Bridgers finds surprising pathos in Dawai. In fact, if it really were Will Ferrell, it
would probably be his best performance ever.
It is hard to recognize Sean Young as mother dearest, but at least her off-screen
persona does not distract from the on-screen action.
Evoking the spirit of outsider art, Jug Face’s opening credits effectively
set an unsettling tone right from the start.
However, the pit is a little underwhelming. It just gurgles a little and turns red from time
to time. Regardless, Kinkle really knows
how to tap into coastal dwellers’ hillbilly phobias, without going the full Deliverance route. Unfortunately, the climax is more of a
deflation than a conflagration. Still,
those looking to shudder at ritual murder and Appalachian inequities will find plenty
of fodder in Jug Face. Recommended for Fessenden fans with a taste
for hicksploitation, Jug Face should
have many midnight screenings ahead of it after its Slamdance premiere last
night in Park City.
Labels: Horror Movies, Larry Fessenden, Moderncine, Slamdance '13