Tuesday, October 21, 2014

30 Days of Nightmares #21: JUG FACE (2013)

The Story: A teenage girl in a backwoods community is secretly marked for ritual sacrifice, but refuses to accept her fate.  The result is a very angry "god."

Expectations: None really, although I was hoping that this film would redeem Lucky McKee's good name after ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE.  (McKee served as an executive producer on this one.)

Reaction: I can usually tell in the first minute or two whether or not I'm going to like a horror movie.   Either I'm intrigued right off the bat or I'm not.  JUG FACE has a compelling opening credit sequence comprised of simple fairy tale imagery and a equally simple but haunting score by Sean Spillane.  It sets the scene for an unusually straightforward and relatively subdued horror film, something more like an ancient myth than a commercial splatfest (although there are definitely a few moments of splat).  At its core, JUG FACE is a pagan morality play about an individual's responsibility to a larger community.  It also quietly begs the question of how willing any of us are to surrender our lives to a higher power that we can't understand or rationalize with.  Those we don't live in a backwoods community that worships a mysterious "pit" may think the question is irrelevant... but the "pit" is just this film's correlative for God and Death.  This is a universal tale, told in a way that it should appeal to fans of indie horror.  The ending is nicely understated.

Most Nightmare-Worthy Moment: Oddly enough, I think the thing that made the biggest impression on me is the music from that opening scene -- a track called "With this Knife."  It's as elegant as an early John Carpenter theme, and sets the eerie mood perfectly.

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