Jug Face, 2013 – ★★★★

Folk horror is so often outsiders going where they don’t belong, but Jug Face shows us insiders of a strange backwoods mountain community that makes sacrifices to a pit. A story with lots of “whys” and no answers is played completely straight, and the realism allows us to go along with this strange sect. Beyond that, it’s the performances that shine bright, the brightest being that of Lauren Ashley Carter, whose gigantic Disney eyes assay abject terror and pain so well. Erstwhile Nicholson clone Larry Fassenden is also tremendous and Shawn Bridgers low key delivery in nearly every situation made me love him. The film is strange and bleak, and some of the ghostly elements don’t quite work, but in the end, it all comes back to Carter’s eyes, which keep you centered in the story, no matter how left field it gets (incest, on screen miscarriage.)

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