Inferred Violence and Incest! --
At first glance, after reading the plot outline of Jug Face, a myriad of other films popped up in my mind. All of the usual clichés and expectations of a horror film involving a remote backwoods community were buzzing around in my head. It didn't take long to see that first time writer/director Chad Crawford Kinkle had successfully managed to add, not only something fresh, but a considerably engrossing spin to that age old horror theme. He did an exceptional job in writing something original and vividly bringing it to life. The film had taken some of the most engaging ideas of M. Night's The Village and added actual terror, although here, the thing we do not speak of is very much alive, with an insatiable appetite for townsfolk.
The story revolves around a young girl Ada (Lauren Ashley Carter) she's been chosen to be "joined" with a young man Bodey (Mathieu Whitman). The thing is, she's not a virgin anymore (oddly enough in this town, the woman is examined for purity). Not only is she not a virgin, she is pregnant by her brother Jessaby (Daniel Manche), something that is extremely frowned upon even in this backwater community. Ada soon learns that her current problems are nothing when compared to what may be in store for her. As you likely already know, this town has a secret, they worship an unseen being that resides in a blood filled pit located at the edge of town. A man named Dawai (Sean Bridgers) who is the local pot maker receives visions where he falls into a trance-like state, blindly making a jug bearing the face of the next person the pit desires as a sacrifice. One night Ada stumbles upon the next jug face discovering that it's her face on the jug. This sets forth a chain of events and deaths as Ada searches for a resolution.
Much respect for Chad Crawford Kinkle, despite this being his first feature film, a low budget indie, he really nailed it. He took an idea that sounds a bit ridiculous and for ninety minutes made me believe in it. None of which would have been possible without the top notch acting all around, especially by Sean Bridgers, Lauren Ashley Carter, Larry Fessenden and Sean Young. Besides having an odd title, although in retrospect, a very fitting one, no inadequacies come to mind in terms of production value or score. The effects were minimal, but very compelling. Obviously they chose to use their budget wisely, and in doing so, they did a sufficient job inferring the violence, showing mainly the aftermath which was just fine, but the scenes that did happen to include gore were chosen wisely. In the end Jug Face is a highly recommendable offbeat horror flick for those fans sick of the same old slasher/inbred killer/pointless torture films that the horror genre is so over saturated with.
Review by Jim Davis, special to Influx Magazine
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