Film Review: ‘Jug Face’

Jug Face Review

An impressively oozing slab of indie horror that bodes well for first-time writer-director Chad Crawford Kinkle.

Vibrantly lensed in rural Tennessee, “Jug Face” is an impressively oozing slab of indie horror that bodes well for the future of first-time writer-director Chad Crawford Kinkle. The brisk, brief feature appears more atmospheric than terrifying, but its bare-bones tale gets under the skin, telling of a pregnant teen whose impending sacrifice to a backwoods community’s worship pit causes hell to break loose. Creatively frugal f/x and a fine performance by saucer-eyed Lauren Ashley Carter as the freaked-out heroine should translate into solid word of mouth among low-budget horror buffs and a modestly successful VOD gross.

Following a series of stylishly creepy crayon sketches that accompany the pic’s opening credits, young Ada (Carter) is introduced on the run, scurrying through the woods in an attempt to elude Jessaby (Daniel Manche). That the two end up having sex against a tree may be surprising, but it seems less bizarre in light of Kinkle’s subsequent revelations: that Jessaby is Ada’s brother; that Ada is pregnant with his child; and that she’s forced to splash red paint on her panties in order to fake the old-fashioned pregnancy tests administered by her puritanical mom (a genuinely bloodcurdling Sean Young).

Likewise, while Ada’s cult-like community has her due to be “joined” to pudgy bumpkin Bodey (Mathieu Whitman), that’s nothing compared with her fate as foretold by pea-brained potter Dawai (Sean Bridgers), whose job in the village is to etch into clay the faces of those slated to be sacrificed to an allegedly all-powerful pit. Indeed, Dawai’s latest “jug face” belongs to Ada, who pisses off the pit by throwing her ceramic likeness in the woods, thereby defying her apparent destiny.

En route to an unexpected and fairly unsettling finale, Kinkle’s screenplay has sufficient fun with hick lingo without quite making monsters of the yokels, dumb as they are. Bridgers is allowed to lend a touch of feeble humanity to his turn as the moonshine-swilling jug-face maker, but an even stronger impression is made very simply by the effects team that renders a possession sequence in green tint and fast motion, with grinding audio. Never is it in doubt that the pit, as Young’s chainsmoking Momma puts it, “wants what it wants.”

Tech credits, including Bob Kurtzman’s ghoulish makeup effects and Christopher Heinrich’s widescreen cinematography, are ghastly good.

Film Review: 'Jug Face'

Reviewed online, Minneapolis, Minn., July 30, 2013. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 81 MIN.

Production

A Gravitas Ventures release of a Moderncine production, in association with New Co. Produced by Andrew van den Houten, Robert Tonino. Executive producers, Lucky McKee, Arrien Schiltkamp, Loren Semmens. Co-executive producer, Sean Bridgers.

Crew

Directed, written by Chad Crawford Kinkle. Camera (color, HD, widescreen), Christopher Heinrich; editor, Zach Passero; music, Sean Spillane; production designer, Kelly Anne Ross; costume designer, Michael Bevins; visual effects, ZP Studios; sound, Jeremy Mazza; re-recording mixers, Andrew Smetek, Spencer Hall; stunt coordinator, Ian Quinn;associate producers, Armin Zellers, Russell Dinstein; assistant director, Drew Langer; casting, Cindi Rush.

With

Lauren Ashley Carter, Sean Bridgers, Sean Young, Larry Fessenden, Daniel Manche, Scott Hodges, Katie Groshong, Alex Maizus, Marvin Starkman, Mathieu Whitman.

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  1. SJ Gilbert says:

    A concept with such great promise; a realistically unsettling setting, a cast with some decent acting chops… Yet so much potential wasted. An ultimately lackluster film which is as washed out as its color palette. While “Jug Face” flirts with multiple basic horror cliches and archetypes (ghosts, monsters, gore and viscera, violent cults, blood sacrifices, etc), it never fully commits to any of them. While one could optimistically attribute this to Crawford Kinkle’s vision being more art house than horror flick, his light touch fails to lend the film any gravity and instead backfires. Because of his failure to go to any sort of extreme, Crawford Kinkle’s film lacks a foothold in which the viewer can attempt to care. The characters are obtuse, the backstory boring, the shocks not shocking… Even the fake blood is watered down. “Jug Face”‘s main issue is that the film’s intention is to quietly lean on its originality when, in fact, it is not nearly as original as it imagines. And to top the bland sundae with a sufficiently withered cherry… The main plot of the story is acted out in crude animation during the opening credits, rendering any modicum of wonder or suspense the simple viewer might have null and void from the get go. The presentation of “Jug Face” may be adequate but the content is sorely lacking.This is Crawford Kinkle’s freshman try and it shows.

  2. Reblogged this on HORROR BOOM and commented:
    Well, Chad Kinkle’s “Jugface” is supposed to be on VOD, but we can’t find it. Since we haven’t seen it, we can’t write a review… but here’s a pretty damn good one from Rob Nelson at Variety.com. Let us know if you can find the movie!

    • Chad Crawford Kinkle says:

      Thanks for the interest, Mrs. Horror Boom! You can find Jug Face on iTunes, Amazon, Xbox and Playstation at the moment. Starting Friday Aug 9th, it will be on most cable providers and in select theaters.

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