`Bug' is a study of mental illness

Review B

May 25, 2007|By Rene Rodriguez | Rene Rodriguez,McClatchy-Tribune

Bug is being marketed as a horror movie, but it isn't a horror movie per se, although it has a number of horrific moments, and it burrows under your skin the way genuinely disturbing art sometimes does.

Based on Tracy Letts' 2004 off-Broadway play, Bug was directed by William Friedkin, who made The Exorcist (and The French Connection and To Live and Die in L.A.) but more recently brought us The Hunted and Rules of Engagement and The Guardian, which was about an evil tree that eats babies. One of Hollywood's most powerful auteurs in the 1970s, Friedkin has faded into gun-for-hire obscurity over the last decade, which explains why Bug has an uncompromising, anything-goes daring: Friedkin, 71, has nothing to lose at this point, and he has made this low-budget, brazenly over-the-top picture strictly on his own terms.

Bug (Lionsgate) Starring Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon, Harry Connick Jr. Directed by William Friedkin. Rated R. Time 102 minutes.

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