Film: Jug Face
Director: Chad Crawford Kinkle
Starring: Lauren Ashley Carter

“There is a pit in the woods that chooses who lives and who dies.”

If you are starting this review without any previous knowledge of the film Jug Face, I highly suggest you use the above sentence as the only description you read and make no further attempts to access information about this film before seeing it yourself. In an age where even teaser trailers have become grounds for spoilers, it’s harder than ever to enter a movie without having the vast majority of the magic revealed ahead of time. Jug Face is one of those rare cinematic efforts that is both wholly unique and largely mysterious to those who haven’t seen it. Do not let the internet ruin this movie experience for you.

Quickly becoming the traveling festival darling to see in 2013, Jug Face is the little movie that could (and does) for writer/director Chad Crawford Kinkle. The film premiered at Slamdance following a highly praised (and blogged about) trailer premiere in December 2012, and is currently criss-crossing the globe playing at any festival with crowds hungry for fresh ideas. The story introduces viewers to a small backwoods community that lives near a pit with the power to give and take life that their familiars have used, guarded, and essentially worshipped for generations. The pit speaks to the people through a member of the community who, under spontaneous control from the pit, creates ceramic jugs barring the faces of community members the pit wishes to feed on. Anyone who appears on a jug must be sacrificed to the pit immediately, or else the entire community must face the pit’s wrath.

Our journey follows that of Ada (Lauren Ashley Carter), a teen in the community who learns her father has agreed to marry her off shortly after discovering she is pregnant with another community member’s baby. Scared she will be outcast once her lustful ways are known, Ada runs to confide in her friend the jug maker only to learn that the pit has chosen her as its next victim. This should be when Ada faces the truth and comes clean, but she opts instead to run from her problems, and in a moment of panic hides the jug in the forrest before anyone has time to learn of its creation. She thinks she’s safe, but the pit soon strikes back with devastating consequences. The body count soon begins to rise, and viewers follow Ada as she faces her fear of family, religion, isolation, and the future all in one marvelous story arc.

Aside from a few poor decisions concerning special effects, which I would wager likely stems from a small budget more than anything else, Jug Face is everything you could hope to find in independent cinema. The script is strong, the acting is top notch, and nearly every aspect of the world Chad Crawford Kinkle created feels both real and genuine. It’s the kind of story that makes you yearn to know more from the beginning and only gives you enough to make that desire grow stronger even as the credits begin to roll. You’re engaged in this story, digging for truth and understanding alongside Ada, and it’s that strong bond forged right at the top of the film that makes it so memorable. You care about these characters without having any knowledge of the culture or existence before sitting in the theaters. There are no history books about pit worshippers in North America, nor movies about dealing with family members sworn to abide by the desires of a hole in the ground conveyed to people through a third party’s artwork. Jug Face faces the biggest challenge of them all, making audiences feeling like they can connect with your characters and world, with compelling originality and the success is beyond measure.

Do everything you in your power to see Jug Face as soon as you possibly can. You have never seen a movie like this before, and by the time it ends you’ll want to share it with everyone you know. An instant classic.

Score: A-

Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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