Directed by Chad Crawford Kinkle
Aug 08, 2013
Jug Face opens with comely Ada (Lauren Ashley Carter) running into the woods for a tryst with a young man. We soon learn the boy is her brother; Ada is pregnant; and they're members of a backwoods cult who worship an otherworldly force known as the pit (represented in physical form by an actual, muck-filled hole in the ground.) The pit demands periodic sacrifices; it picks its victims through Dawai (Sean Bridgers), an intellectually disabled sculptor who will occasionally enter a trance and carve the face of the pit's intended into a clay jug. Ada learns the face on the latest jug is her own; she buries the jug in the woods, setting off a gory chain reaction as the pit exacts revenge on its worshippers for not giving it what it wants.
Jug Face is part supernatural horror and part nutso cult escape flick, but it never fully commits to either. The answers to its big questions are revealed early on-murderous visions and messages from poor-quality CGI spirits quickly confirm the pit's cognizance, and that the cultists aren't quite as crazy as they seem-but these elements are only partially explained. Rather than seeming mysterious, the supernatural forces at work only feel vague and ill-defined. The cult itself-save for Ada's father, played by jack-of-all-trades Larry Fessenden-is composed of flat hillbilly types; the moment the film invokes incest and mentally-handicapped savants, Jug Face's religious, redneck weirdos come off more Motel Hell than Martha Marcy May Marlene.
Writer-director Chad Crawford Kinkle shows a good amount of genre prowess in his feature debut, and a strong performance from Carter almost succeeds in selling the world despite the failings surrounding it. The young filmmaker and his star display some promise for the future, but Jug Face delivers little more than your standard, low-budget horror fare.
Author rating: 3.5/10
Average reader rating: 10/10