Jug Face almost made it onto the list for last year’s Horrortoberfest but it ended up not fitting any of the themes I was doing during the weeks. Since this year’s theme is a complete shit-show of random crap that people have told me to put on a list, it is fitting that I should be watching it now. With a name like Jug Face, I was almost certain that this was going to be a comedy/horror when I started watching the movie. Turns out that it is actually a totally serious look at what happens when you go against the wishes of a spooky pit that sometimes heals people but mostly just murders them and maybe helps with making moonshine? Whatever.
We start right away with some teens running around the woods and having sexy times. Ok, normal enough horror movie stuff. Turns out that they are brother and sister and it’s not treated like this is a big deal outside of the fact that she was having sex before wedlock. That is the level of weird stereotypical Ozarks world building that we are going to get. Apparently the pit that is worshipped for its ill-defined healing powers decides that this level of strumpetry on the part of the girl, Ada, will not stand and so gives the community’s magical idiot potter the vision that she should die. And how does this deadly calling from Spooky Pit manifest? It’s a jug with her face on it. Why are you even asking that? I mean, come on, that should be obvious. It’s right there in the title. I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.
So Ada decides that she doesn’t want to die and hides the jug away in the forest. This works because while the pit gives visions to the potter, he never remembers what he crafted. Then when Spooky Pit doesn’t get the sacrifice it wanted, it starts killing off people. Now, instead of just giving another vision to magical potter so it can get that sweet, sweet immoral sex having blood; the pit instead gives visions to Ada of it killing people in…some way. Sometimes it’s just a camera zoom and then the person had blood squirting and sometimes you see a hand grabbing at the person and where the hell did the hand come from? Maybe it’s the moonshine spirit which is a teenage boy. Oh, I didn’t mention that. There is a ghost of some kid and he is related to but separate from the pit and is also related to moonshine somehow. It was vital that this exist because we need spooky exposition and Spooky Pit can only gurgle and give visions.
The movie is fairly well put together in terms of sound, video and acting that makes me believe that there are some weird hillbilly families that worship a pit. Unfortunately there is no substance here. Spooky Pit is both all-powerful but entirely inanimate which, as I discussed in the review for Oculus, makes for an exceedingly boring villain. There is no moral or anything to the story either. The whole thing is just about making crazy sacrifices for a vague gain and in the end Ada just kind of accepts that and the movie goes on about its business. We don’t even get to have that tension of “Is the pit magical or are these people just in a crazy cult” because it gets established super early on that it has actual powers.
With a name like Jug Face, I was expecting something more. Either something more acknowledging of how deeply stupid that idea is or something more disturbing to make you forget it. Mostly I ended up bored and disinterested as will happen when your omniscient, omnipotent monster has no personality. I’d give the movie a 2 out of 5.
Favorite part of the movie: Hearing the actors have to actual use the phrase “jug face”
Least favorite part: Those jug faces don’t even look like anyone. How the hell are you supposed to figure out who to sacrifice when the jug faces are all super generic?