This horror opus from William Friedkin can often be repulsive and riveting, but not in a conventional way.
Starring Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon, and Harry Connick Jr., Bug works fairly effective from its stage antecedent after a telling ominous image.
Judd's Agnes resides in a remote roadside hotel in Oklahoma, toiling as a barmaid at a local dive with pal RC (Lynn Collins). RC allows her to meet Peter (Shannon), and both are reticient to get into a relationship that could make them more lonely and damaged.
Complicating things for Agnes is her ex-con of an ex-husband, Jerry (Connick), who doesn't take too well to their delicate bond. The blossoming quality of the script by Tracy Letts has to do with Peter and Agnes's reaction to someone who thinks the government has left him in an infested state.
Friedkin's low-budget paranoid thriller simmers with an intense, rather disturbing wrought drama, given the tightening of cast and production values. Conspiracy, paranoia, and madness come into play with lurid interpersonal intrigue. The pressure mounts around Agnes, Peter, and Jerry with a tiny aphid being the culprit. Engaging, grisly, and definitely extreme, one's needs are what can slide one over the threshold. And, Judd gives depth to a desolate existence from the caustic exchanges with Connick, and gentler ones with a surprising Shannon.
Hardly for the faint of heart, Bug casts a dark, distraught shadow on the psyche, a subtle, sometimes amusingly cued freakshow giving new meaning to being self-centered.