The Pit wants what it wants.
Chad Crawford Kinkle’s JUG FACE (2013) is a backwoods community indie horror that has an absolutely gritty and unforgiving character story. After an engaging and wonderfully animated title sequence that reveals much of the film’s backstory, we see Ada (Lauren Ashley Carter) running in the woods and Jessaby (Daniel Manche) giving chase. Jessaby coaxes Ada into having sex with him, and immediately you begin to realize that the relationship between these two is forbidden. Jessaby is her brother. Her father (Fessenden) and mother (Sean Young) is marrying her off against her will to a large and homely hillbilly. The incestuous relationship and unwanted betrothal will prove to be the beginning of her problems.
Ada and her family live in a village where everyone worships a deep, dark, and bloody monstrous pit that chooses its victims by sending telepathic visions to Dawai (Sean Bridgers), who then fashions a jug in the image of the person who is to be sacrificed to the pit. However, there are complications. In this go around, it is Ada whom the pit wants. It doesn’t take much to figure out that it may be because of her intimate relationship with her brother–which produced a pregnancy. When Ada discovers the jug with her face on it, she breaks tradition and hides it. Ada’s deception subjects her to vivid hallucinations of the pit exacting revenge upon those around her. Until the pit gets what it wants–evil is unleashed upon the community.
What makes this film worth checking out, is it isn’t overly saturated with dramatic moments just to make up for screen time. It is succinctly suspenseful. There is enough to be aware of throughout the film to make viewers uncomfortable about Ada’s situation without induced dramatizations to get its message across. There is an insightful balance that manages to draw us in and empathize with each character’s madness and hardships. Much of this is due to the meticulous attention to cinematic details–guiding you through the expansive backwoods and the closeness of its small community.
I enjoyed the great storytelling aspect of the film. The impressive performances by Lauren Ashley Carter as the doe-eyed intended sacrifice, and Sean Young as the brash and abusive mother–I was drawn in by the extreme believe-ability of each character circumstance. The film does feel small; however, it successfully captures this small group of people, and the very real supernatural danger surrounding the pit.
Overall, an impressive indie flick.
Art and supplementary materials courtesy ©2013 of Chad Crawford Kinkle. All rights reserved.