Jug Face is an American Horror movie released in 2013, written and directed by Chad Crawford Kinkle winner of the 2011 Slamdance Screenwriting Competition. Filmed on location in Tennessee, Jug Face tells a good rural horror film. As a fan of rural horror/gothic films Jug Face was one that I made the time to see once it came to my attention. The story feels very insular, but in a very good way as the subject matter is just as much about the society that Ada lives as the creature that demands lives.
The film opens with Ada (Lauren Ashley Carter) and her brother Jessaby (Daniel Manche) committing some old fashion hillbilly fornication. After they finish Ada goes to visit her friend Dawai (Sean Bridgers), who is the potter and prophet for the spirit that dwells in a pit in the woods worshiped by the hill-folk. After her visit as she’s leaving, she checks Dawai’s kiln and finds a jug with her face. Dawai while under the possession of the spirit makes jugs in the likeness of those to be sacrificed. Afraid for her life and the life of her baby, which is being kept secret due to its incestuous nature steals and hides the jug. As Dawai has no recollections of the jugs creation while under the power of the spirit from the pit. When she arrives home, she learns that she’s to be joined to a local boy Bodey (Mathieu Whitman). The spirit lashes out later for not receiving its sacrifice, killing Bodoys sister and sending the community into a panic as those killed and not sacrificed are cursed to become one of the “Shunned” and walk the woods forever. After confronting Dawai he tells them that he has no recollection of making a jug, but awoke feeling funny a few days prior, but found no jug. They tell him to find the missing jug and when he is unable Ada suggests he try to make it from memory. Dawai does so, but creates a jug for the wrong person leaving the spirit unappeased causing it to continue to kill members of the community. Dawai is taken and tied next to the pit to be its next victim for his actions only to be freed by Ada and the two attempt to escape the community together.
I really enjoyed the otherworldly tone of this film. While still being ground with a strong sense of reality and expands on the typical cult worship style of film. The horror for me is more about the quite religious fervor of the small hidden back woods community, then it is about the unseen presence claiming lives.
I also enjoyed the acting from the cast and can’t think of a single weak link or individual that didn’t rise to the occasion. Sean Young, who plays Adas mother Lorris said she found it hard to play an unsympathetic character and as unsympathetic as the character is Young does an amazing job within the confines of her role. I think she delivers just as great a performance as she did in Bladerunner, which for me is really saying a lot.
I also really loved the music in this film as fits the feel of it perfectly. Sean Spillane does an outstanding job creating music that perfectly heightens the film, but never gets intrusive or comes off out of place. For me Jug Face is a film that really nails it when it comes to this aspect.
Final thoughts, I loved it. Jug Face felt fresh while still feeling oddly familiar in all the right ways. The cast does an outstanding job, with Dawai being my easy favorite. While Jug Face is haunting it’s sadly never terrifying. Despite this Jug Face is a film that I know that I will be suggesting to coworkers as well as the next few parties I attend, 9/10.