Bug

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Bug Movie Poster Image
Paranoid horror/thriller is too intense for kids.
  • R
  • 2007
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A guilt-ridden, fearful woman descends into a terrifying relationship with a paranoid man; locked inside a motel room, they can't imagine a way out. References to a child who "disappeared" from his mother's side in a supermarket.

Violence

Jerry knocks Aggie to the floor, bloodying her lip and making her cry; Aggie throws a drink at the door; Aggie slaps R.C.; Peter pulls his own teeth with pliers (very bloody); Peter and Aggie's faces and bodies are increasingly cut (presumably as they've picked at bugs/bites); Jerry pushes Aggie to the wall, holding a flashlight on her; Peter repeatedly (and bloodily) stabs a man ferociously; Peter attacks Jerry's hand with a staple gun; (spoiler alert) at the end, the central characters strip naked, douse themselves and the room with fuel, then strike a match: scene cuts to flames, then credits (you don't see bodies burning).

Sex

Kissing takes place in a lesbian bar; Agnes kisses RC; sexual slang ("homo," "beaver," "jacking off"); single sex scene shows close-ups of nipples, sweating torsos, hands, and faces; after sex, a man is plainly nude (brief full frontal and back nudity); Aggie appears on the toilet (visible in profile through the open door); in one scene, the central couple strips naked, with breasts and pubic hair visible in profile.

Language

Frequent bad language, including more than 50 "f--k"s (a few with "mother-"), as well as "s--t," "son of a bitch," "ass," "damn," and "goddamn."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink (mostly beer and wine) and smoke hand-rolled cigarettes; more drinking and smoking in background of bar scene; cocaine sniffing; crack smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this intensely paranoid film absolutely isn't for younger kids. Not a horror movie in the conventional sense, it's still very scary and violent -- an ex-husband hits and frightens his former wife; there's a brutal stabbing murder; a man pulls out his own teeth with pliers; and it's implied that two characters set themselves on fire. There's smoking, drinking, drug use (cocaine and crack), relentless swearing (mostly "f--k"), and nudity (close ups of nipples and sweating bodies, a brief full-frontal shot of a man).

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCrystals W. November 27, 2017

Calm down it was ok

Everyone is saying how much they hate this movie that it was downright horrible that is not true it was an okay movie it wasn't amazing like other movies b... Continue reading
Parent of a 13-year-old Written bycolten97 October 10, 2012

Intense and Unique

Certainly not for everyone...but if you appreciate completely unique and intense cinema...check it out. I am so impressed by Ashley Judd, who I always liked, bu... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bydavispittman December 13, 2016

Good acting, but kinda lackluster movie

The thing with Bug is that it's a film that has great performances by Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon, and Harry Connick Jr., but the movie just isn't as... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byleahxo June 29, 2011

Good Film, However Very Graphic.

Definitely inappropiate for anyone under 14-even at that age it's hard to watch, considering i'm 14. It is a fairly good film, but very graphic.

What's the story?

In William Friedkin's BUG, Agnes (Ashley Judd) spends her nights working in a smoky, noisy Oklahoma bar and her days holed up in a motel room, drinking and worrying. In addition to lingering guilt over a child gone missing six years ago, she's plagued by fear of her abusive ex-husband, Jerry (Harry Connick, Jr.), who's just been released from prison. Still, as sad and beaten down as she looks, most of Aggie's distress is internal. And she's in for lots more.

Is it any good?

In a terrific performance, Judd makes Aggie's emotional dissolution -- most of which takes place inside her motel room -- clear moment by moment. Rather than focusing on the specifics of Aggie's original traumas, the film (which is based on Tracy Letts' off-Broadway play) exposes the ongoing, grueling aftermath. Aggie and fellow waitress R.C. (Lynn Collins) spend an evening with Peter (Michael Shannon, who originated the part in the play). Wondering aloud whether he's an "axe murderer," Aggie is also moved by his strangeness, his utter lack of irony.

Ostensibly a Gulf War veteran who endured "experimentation" by military doctors, he reveals to Aggie that he's been infested with bugs. Though she's initially unable to see them, she soon agrees that aphids (plant lice) are biting him -- and now her. Soon both manifest signs of their paranoia: scabs and bloody marks where they pick at themselves. In another movie (say, Friedkin's own The Exorcist), such flailing would signal possession, or maybe insanity; here the meaning remains aptly unclear.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the effects of trauma. How is Agnes troubled by her memories and her lingering fears? Do you think that the "bugs" are real? What else could they represent? Families also can talk about what genre this movie falls into. What makes something a horror movie? What distinguishes horror movies from thrillers and dramas? What kinds of movies are scariest -- gory slasher films, or suspenseful thrillers? Why?

Movie details

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