After reviewing the palpable awesomeness which is The Mind’s Eye (Joe Begos, 2015) I stumbled upon a film I had come by on a couple lists or on some “similar titles” section but never gave it a chance until I realized Lauren Ashley Carter (The Mind’s Eye , The Woman ) was the star; that movie is Jug Face (2013) written and directed by Chad Crawford Kinkle (his only notable work).
The story opens on Ada (Carter) bumping ugliest with her brother Jessaby (Daniel Manche, The Girl Next Door ) against a tree on some forest path by an 8 foot mud pit all the backwater hillbillies in her “community” worship. Every year the pit “speaks” to the molder (a prophet like medium that the pit tells whom the village should sacrifice) who is then possessed by the spirits of the forest into casting a jug in the likeness of a member of the community (hence the title). That person then is sacrificed by the rest and dumped in the hole for the pit to consume and the people remaining are protected from sickness and fear of outside danger (think Outsiders the TV show mixed with human sacrifice). The residents of the mountainside willingly give up children, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters and everything in between as they consider the choosing to be an honor…and because if the sacrificial request is denied then the pit sends it’s spirits out to mutilate and kill members of the village one by one until it gets what it wants (or “who” I should say). Which brings us back to Ada.
Ada is promised to some beer gutted double wide under the pretense that she is still untouched. Nobody knows she’s been diddling her brother and they want to keep it that way. She buys a preggo stick at the local towns convenient store and finds out she’s been knocked up by her brother. There’s a really awkward scene later on where her mom “checks her purity” by giving a back alley vaginal exam ✌ in their trailer home’s cozy bathroom and realizes her daughter has been as tactful as her hymen.
At the same time her friend and local moonshiner Dawai (Sean Bridgers, The Woman ) who is the molder has recently cast two jugs; one of a baby which everyone ignored because they thought nobody was pregnant, and one of Ada which is quickly hidden in the forest. As you can guess, the pit doesn’t take too kindly to deviation so it begins killing all of those around her. Ada must decide to high-tail it out of this hillbilly hell hole, or finally give herself to the pit and stop all the killings (which are pretty satisfying).
Let me start my analysis by giving my hands to Lauren Ashley Carter 👏👏👏. She was great in the Mind’s Eye, The Woman, and she is no different in Jug Face. Her performance; depicting the fear of inevitable death, fear of ostracization from her community, and fear of losing those around her is what drove this film. That and the superstition of the village (Idk about you but I love some urban myth type of folklore in my movies; makes it more ominous). You can really get a a tangible sense of dread and longing from the characters but also their dedication to the pit and fulfilling it’s wishes no matter what the cost. The willingness to give one’s own up for sacrifice sets a pretty bleak tone for the movie (but hey, whatever works for em, right?) and it doesn’t ever really let up.
There are some great elements about this movie. It’s well shot, effectively acted, has levels of complexity via the town superstition, and also has a scene where someone is consumed by the pit in a way similar to a garbage disposal. This and the presence of notable low-budget horror actor/director Larry Fessender (POD, Southbound, The Mind’s Eye, We Are Still Here, Late Phases and about 85 other titles) makes this movie a very pleasant ride through hillbilly hell.
IMDB: 5.2/10 (5224 votes)
Rotten Tomatoes: 🍅75% 🍿36% (⬅again, unsophisticated horror n00bs)
DEAD🐶PUPPY: 4 incestuous hip thrusts/5