Who's in It:
Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon, Harry Connick Jr.
The Basics: Judd is as down-on-her-luck as a person can be outside of a homeless shelter. She lives in a seedy motel; her child's been missing for years; her abusive ex-con of a man is out of the joint and itching to repossess his little lady. And now lucky her she's met a new guy, a returning war vet, who thinks the government's performed secret experiments on him and implanted millions of tiny bugs under his skin. Together, they quickly go from everyday normal crazy to let's-cover-the-entire-room-in-aluminum-foil crazy. Then it gets really nuts. So it's kind of a romantic comedy.
What's the Deal? If nothing else, this insane movie proves that you don't have to get old and useless. Seventy-one-year-old director William Friedkin is the guy who brought you the most intense horror movie of the 1970s, The Exorcist, as well as other bold '70s stuff like Cruising. In a way, it's sort of like one of those early '70s paranoia movies. It's cheap and claustrophobic and drugged-up and violent and doesn't exactly go out of its way to make you love its two main loser lunatics.
Hey, Ashley Judd Fans! Get a Load of This! If your favorite version of her is the one seen in cutesy movies where Hugh Jackman just happens to take off his shirt a lot and they smooch at the end, then you might be a little surprised to see her going buck wild and screaming like a grown-up, demon-possessed Linda Blair. But after this and her downbeat role in Come Early Morning, I think I'm beginning to like this new, improved, down 'n' dirty Judd. She'll never be as wacky as her mom, obviously, but you can see she's serious about trying.
Ambiguity Points For: The bugs. Are they real? Are they not? Is it a political commentary on the War or just about a mentally ill guy who takes whoever's in his path down with him?
Who Should See It: Fans of Hostel and Saw, even though it's not really like those movies much at all. It's just a feeling.