and pottery are a wicked combination.
One young woman living in a hillbilly cult understands that only too
well. She knows exactly what it means
when the kiln tolls for her in Chad Crawford Kinkle’s Jug Face (trailer
Modernciné production which opens tomorrow in New York.
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 to live—not just for herself, but also for
her unborn child.
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
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 opens
this Friday (8/9) at the Village East.
Labels: Horror Movies, Killer hillbillies, Larry Fessenden, Moderncine