Ken and I picked up this movie on the cheap at Circuit City not too long ago, and we watched it tonight.
This was totally NOT what we were expecting. We thought it was going to be a horror movie about creepy-crawlies, but it was a psychological thriller that had me riveted the entire time.
Yeah, it was very bizarre, and there were several times when we looked at each other and said, "What the hell...?" but I actually liked it quite a bit--maybe because it WAS so unexpected.
I was surprised to realize that the skanky meth chick was the beautiful Ashley Judd, and at first, her ex-boyfriend (played by a buff Harry Connick, Jr.) looked to be the bad guy of the movie. Judd's character hooks up with a guy from the bar where her and her lesbian pal work, and HE seems to be kind of okay...until he starts talking about getting bitten by bugs. "Plant lice," to be specific.
The relationship goes downhill from there.
Warning: Spoilers ahead
The guy from the bar ends up being a paranoid schizophrenic, believing that while he was in the Army, doctors implanted him with insects. He becomes increasingly irrational, infecting Judd's character not with his imaginary bugs, but with his fear of infestation. By the end of the movie, they've decorated their cheap motel room with aluminum foil wallpaper and they light their humble abode with bug zappers. Schizo has yanked out some of his own teeth because he believes "they" have planted eggs in them. Yikes!
Judd's character is unable to realize how irrational she has become, and refuses the help of her lesbian pal, who tries to tell her that there are no bugs. When her schizophrenic lover has a seizure, she slaps her friend and tells her to get out and never come back. There seems to be one last chance for her, when her ex (Harry Connick, Jr.--did I mention he's buff?) turns out to be not quite as bad as we thought, and brings over the psychiatrist who has treated Schizo, and the shrink tries to reason with her. While the psychiatrist tries to deal with her (and smokes a little meth along the way--I don't think that's part of the curriculum in med school), Schizo comes out of the bathroom, his torso bleeding from where he's tried to dig the "egg sacs" out from beneath his skin. The shrink is ready with a syringe and plans on sedating Schizo, but Schizo has a knife, and that's the end of the shrink.
The end of the movie is a mutual self-immolation, in order to prevent the world's population from being infested and overrun by the bugs that both of them believe they carry within them.
End of spoilers
Jeez, what a freaky movie. But I seriously could not look away! I've never thought too much of Ashley Judd as an actress, but WOW, she was great! I'm not familiar with Michael Shannon, who played the schizophrenic lover, but he was also convincingly crazy. And if I hadn't mentioned it before, Harry Connick, Jr. was buff! <grin> Actually, he did a very good job--we really thought he was going to be the creepy bad guy, like he was in "Copy Cat," but he was merely the ex-con ex-boyfriend who was just a jerk. There are degrees of "bad guy," and in the case of this movie, bug-infested schizo boy trumps abusive ex-boyfriend when it comes to Slime Factor.
But seriously, it was a bizarre movie--but also bizarrely riveting. Their mutual descent into madness was terrible to watch, and as I sit here trying to kill the gnats that keep landing on the computer screen and occasionally on my arms, I have a terrible case of the heebie-jeebies.
If you're into psychological thrillers--especially creepy ones--this one is right up your alley. I liked it a lot, although I found it quite disturbing. This one might linger with me a couple of days, and I think that's a sure sign of a first-class thriller. Oh, and the director was William Friedkin. That's right, the guy who directed "The Exorcist," the movie that creeps me out more than any other, EVER (Friedkin and I share a birthday, by the way). Dammit, I've mentioned it, and now I'm probably going to think of it tonight. DRAT!