"I am the super mother bug!" -- Bug

In many ways, Bug may represent the apex of Ashley Judd's curious career. She's always been something of a green-screen actress without the green-screen, relying on some kind of method to dig deep and come up with seemingly heartfelt, emotive performances in routine thrillers where the surroundings don't warrant that kind of effort. (I'm looking at you, Kiss the Girls.) Judd's motivation is always in her head, which makes her naturally primed to take on a character like Bug's Agnes White, a lonely, small-town waitress who was frozen inside her own emotional headspace years ago, when her young son disappeared out of a grocery cart. She now spends her days being lusted after by the lesbians at a honky-tonk dive where she works, doing drugs, counting up crumpled dollar bills and bracing herself for the unwanted return of her ex-con ex, who has more than one screw loose. "You tried to kill me," she reminds him when he finally washes up on her doorstep. "That was a rough one, yeah," he replies, without trying to be funny.

I've seen the same marketing you have, and I'm not going to comment on whether, at some point during the film, a swarm of giant bugs may come to attack poor Agnes. I will suggest, however, that deserved Oscar nominations for Judd and director William Friedkin may be thwarted by an attempt to make this film sound like it belongs on the same shelf as Blade: Trinity and Silent Hill. Bug is a horror film, for sure -- one that will leave you bug-eyed -- but not one that pins its hopes on special effects. Instead, it uses a horrific set-up to explore some nimble issues, like how emotional vulnerability can weaken you, impair your judgment and make you not only accept the poor logic of others, but actually become a participant in their delusions. If you have nothing in your life, will you grab onto anything? Sociologists have been asking a variant of that question forever, and it's refreshing to see a movie taking a whack at it, with some success.