(2006, William Friedkin)
Claustrophobic thriller full of conspiracy, craziness and creepy, crawly critters (or is it?!). This is the movie that was supposed to prove that Ashley Judd could act. I remain unconvinced.
Spoiler and other info after the jump.
Director Friedkin adapts this off-Broadway play somewhat effectively early, and it contains a couple of good scenes that speculate on Gulf War paranoia. However, Judd’s character simply commits too quickly to co-star Michael Shannon, a stranger with some strange ideas about insects. By the end, it spins out of control into over-the-top thriller territory as Judd simply screams her crazed lines like “I am the Queen Mother Bug” and raves incoherently before she and Shannon strip naked and douse themselves in gasoline. And just so you don’t miss the fact that the two characters have completely gone cuckoo-nutso (like fans of Stacie Ponder’s Final Girl blog*), the scene is lit with the blue glow of bug zappers in a room covered in foil. Now there’s subtlety for you.
Progressive onscreen madness is understandable, but the transformation by Judd into balls-to-the-wall insanity is really stretching the limits of even allegorical drama.
* If you haven’t already discovered Stacie’s blog/homage to the horror genre, read her latest entry on The One I Might Have Saved, and thank me later.