Written by: Chad Crawford Kinkle
Directed by: Chad Crawford Kinkle
Jug Face follows pregnant teen, Ada, who is part of a backwoods community that worships and succumbs to a force that supposedly lives in a damp, dank pit. The pit-monster speaks through Dawai (Sean Bridgers), a mentally challenged but talented potter, by forcing him to mold jugs that bear the face of the next person to be sacrificed. When Ada (Lauren Ashley Carter) discovers she is next on the pit’s hit list, she attempts to escape the inevitable and in the process, dooms the lives of those closest to her. Larry Fassenden and the controversial Sean Young co-star.
Believable: Kinkle’s approach to the isolated, backwood occult feels so honest that it’s easy to get sucked into the film’s realities. Five minutes in, I had no trouble accepting the mythology behind the community’s beliefs. Kinkle isn’t here to gross you out, he wants you to feel the horrors of humanity.
Acting: Lauren Ashley Carter (Ada) and Sean Bridgers (Dawai) carry the movie to heights it could not have reached without their solid performances. Their characters’ distinct nuances make them believable and hard to let go when the film ends. This isn’t Carter or Bridgers first feature, but Jug Face wouldn’t have been half as enjoyable without them. I look forward to seeing them both in more leading roles.
Original Approach: We’ve seen occult, backwoods, and teen pregnancy horror movies, but I can’t think of any that include prophesying pottery! Kinkle’s original approach to popular themes makes the movie feel unique and new. Jug Face takes on religion, incest, and murder, but it never lets on how serious it means to be and leaves room for the viewer to breath.
Unnecessary Visuals: Occasionally we are put into Ada or Dawai’s POV when they come under the pit’s spell. These scenes added little to the story and muddled the tone. Then there’s the ghost-boy that warns Ada throughout the film. His digital appearance felt out of place and cheesed up an otherwise creepy story. His blatant dialogue didn’t help, either.
Pacing: A few transitions felt choppy, and some scenes went on for too long. But, Jug Face is too self aware to let you down. In one such scene, Ada says, “This is taking too long,” and the story moves on.
Jug Face takes a unique, welcomed approach to the backwoods/occult horror sub-genre and has a great (or, at least recognizable) cast to boot. It’s an unexpected, fun, and uncompromising film that knows how to hit deeper than on-screen splatter. Jug Face may not be perfect, but it’s too good to ignore.