Bug: Special Edition – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Director

William Friedkin

Cast

Ashley Judd Agnes White
Michael Shannon Peter Evans
Harry Connick Jr. Jerry Ross
Lynn Collins R.C.
Brian F. O’Byrne Dr. Sweet

DVD Release Date: September 25, 2007
Rating: R
Running Time: 102 Minutes

The Movie

Agnes White is a confused woman that just is living her life one day at a time without ever seeing much change from sun up to sun down. She works as a waitress at a bar, lives in a hotel apartment, and has an abusive ex-husband that just doesn’t seem to want to leave her alone. She has very few good friends, but one is a co-worker named R.C. that she sometimes “messes around” with. Aggie is content with that life until R.C. brings a friend named Peter Evans over one night and Aggie’s life soon changes.

Peter and Aggie are shy with one another at first, but quickly become good friends as they reveal more about their own lives with one another. Aggie of course gives a little bit at first, but an abusive visit from the ex- Jerry forces her to share more with Peter and that leads the couple to become even closer and fall in love. It was all very fast, but the trust and love is there. So too are the odd things one learns about someone the more they get to know them.

Peter’s behavior is strange from the beginning, but his obsession with bugs is what catches Aggie’s attention most. He constantly feels as if they are all over him and biting him, but then proves his case by showing them to Aggie and telling her all sorts of facts about each one. It’s then that Peter reveals the truth about his past and that he is a war veteran who went AWOL due to the government experimenting on him and injecting his blood with tracker bugs. They must do all they can to stay hidden and rid themselves of the bugs which have now infected Aggie. One big problem is that no-one believes the couple or even sees the bugs except for them. That doesn’t mean they aren’t real.

There are numerous reviews for Bug that I read when it came out in theatres some months ago. A couple of the quotes from world renowned critics on the DVD cover call it “searingly tense” and “disturbing.” I for one would love to know what film they were watching. It is anything but scary, far from disturbing, hardly tense at all, and actually ended up being quite laughable.

For months trailers played that showed the film in such an intense and heart-pounding manner that it became something I couldn’t wait to see. When the time finally came; well halfway through it I was bored and then shortly thereafter the end couldn’t come soon enough. The portrayal of a paranoid schizophrenic is actually shown in a fantastic manner and Michael Shannon really makes you think he is totally insane. His seriousness in getting Ashley Judd’s character of Aggie to believe him completes the delusional illness to utter perfection. But besides that, a lot is left to be desired because while it seems real, it also appears silly.

The few actors that actually show up in the film do a fantastic job especially Shannon and Harry Connick Jr. Connick in particular gives one of the most enjoyable performances by far as he plays the creepy, yet humorous, ass like he really is one (see Copycat). Judd also does a good job as Aggie, the lonely woman who is happy for any company that isn’t slapping her across the face. Although I’m not sure why she had to make her accent even more southern considering she already has one. Trying to make it even thicker sounded horrible at times because she lost it randomly as well which just took all credibility out of it.

Perhaps what makes Bug go down the wrong path most of all is the script and execution. During some scenes when the mood is meant to be serious and heart-pounding; laughter was the reaction it got from me. Maybe that makes me shallow or something for laughing at a mentally ill person, but you get to the climatic scene where Aggie figures it all out in her head and tell me you don’t crack up. The severe lack of music throughout the duration of the film also hurts the mood immensely. Just hearing them talk constantly without so much as a mood-breaking note made it seem awkward at times.

The Video

The film is shown in 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen and looks perfectly fine. Besides a few outside shots and a scene at the bar though; the entire film takes place inside the hotel room. Colors are very limited but bright when they need to be while the shadows and darkness are never overwhelming or too black.

The Audio

The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1Surround Sound and as limited as the settings were; so stands true for the audio. Bug is almost entirely dialogue and there is little to virtually no soundtrack whatsoever. I remember a slight bit of music during the opening credits, background in the bar, and then no more until halfway through the closing credits. All dialogue comes through fine though at a good volume without any low spots.

Special Features

Bug: An Introduction – This is a short twelve minute feature which is basically a “making of” featurette. The director and cast discuss what they feel about the film and their views on it. This was actually Ashley Judd’s first film after not working for close to two years. And let it just be known that Michael Shannon seems just as freakishly creepy being himself that he did as Peter Evans.

A Discussion With William Friedkin – A thirty minute question and answer period with the director who discusses everything from his first works to Bug. Somewhat interesting and worth the watch. It really surprised me that since he started making feature films in 1966; he only believes he’s done about fifteen total. Upon doing some research, I count around twenty but none of real importance to me except for The Exorcist and The French Connection.

Audio Commentary – Friedkin is riding solo on this commentary and pretty much does nothing but give a narration throughout the film. He simply tells you what you already find out from just watching Bug itself with every now and then giving a little bit more insight as to what he was going for from scene to scene. That is of course when he isn’t sitting there in silence or making random comments about the Lionsgate opening sequence.

TrailersThe Condemned, The Abandoned, Deliver Us From Evil, An American Haunting, and Stephen King’s Desperation

The Inside Pulse

Bug is a major disappointment to a film I was looking forward to more then most this year. It has the potential and the acting talent to be a cult classic that is also a great film to be admired by all, but it failed in so many departments. As soon as it ended, my first thought that could have made the film better was to actually show their delusions. Had the “bugs” actually been seen by the viewing audience; then the sheer creepiness would have upped the score of the film tremendously. I for one know that my skin would have felt like it was on fire because I wouldn’t be able to stop scratching. And the special effect bugs could have been done easily with the money they saved on set design. Onto the DVD which is labeled a “special edition” and it boggles the mind as to why. The special features are lacking and those on there are not worth much. The film disappoints and the DVD presentation continues on the same track. Skip it unless you’re bored and want something to rent some night. RAAAIIIIDDD BOOM!

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Bug
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

4
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

7
THE EXTRAS

4
REPLAY VALUE

2
OVERALL
4
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

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