Hicksploitation is alive and well in this little ditty from last year. Jug Face is about a backwoods clan of folk that worship some demonic entity that lives in a pit in the ground that has the power to heal them from all sickness, but requires a sacrifice. The person lucky enough to be bled out into the muddy waters of the pit are chosen by clan member Daiwai, who has visions given to him by the pit and fashions their faces onto clay jugs.
Yeah, this is a very strange movie.
It’s made stranger since the film opens up on it’s heroine Ada (Lauren Ashley Cater, the youngest daughter in The Woman having sex with her brother. The film starts her off with three really big dilemmas:
1) She’s pregnant with his kid
2) She’s getting ready to enter into an arranged marriage with another clan
3) Her face is on Daiwai’s latest jug.
She tries to solve the third issue by hiding the jug in the woods, but the pit creature ends up killing others in retribution and calling for the life of her kid and other people in the group. Ada’s mom is suspicious of her late monthly, so Ada fools her by putting red paint on her panties. Played by Sean Young, of Blade Runner fame, Loriss is a vicious woman who tries to maintain control to the routine as much as possible and tortures her daughter when she gets out of line. The scene where she finally discovers Ada has no hymen is particularly disturbing.
The rest of the film follows Ada trying to cover her tracks and then trying to make amends for the deaths the pit takes in her place. It’s not an uplifting movie and is very strange, but I liked it. It’s quirky and almost seems more like a black comedy than a horror flick. I don’t mind films being tonally inconsistent, and the horror/black comedy hybrid works for the hicksploitation genre. The acting is very good, especially for a low-budget film and first time film director Chad Kinkle does a good job directing it. He keeps the pace even, but still highlights the oddness of the situation and story. Jug Face features a really great score that helps with the ambiance and establishing the southern gothic mood the film was going for. The only weakness of the film is that it doesn’t establish a proper history of the pit or the people in the community. Though to be fair, it doesn’t matter.
This is a love it or hate it type of film. The masses will shun it, but it’s destined to be cult classic.
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