Jug Face Keeps it all in the Family


The anthropologist Margaret Mead played an instrumental role in dragging America out of its post–WWII frigidity by documenting the sexual mores of distant tribes. We should therefore consider ourselves lucky she never studied the Tennessee hayseeds featured in Chad Crawford Kinkle’s debut feature, Jug Face, or we might still be wearing petticoats and sock garters. Ada (Lauren Ashley Carter) lives in one of those rural fundamentalist enclaves occasionally featured on PBS, where moonshine is distilled and roadkill is considered no-joke dining. Here, for an added bonus, siblings are viable romantic partners and those who transgress against the desires of the monster residing in a nearby pit are flogged and left to be horribly devoured. The creature, beneficiary of a blood pact thanks to the healing powers of the pit’s waters, is appeased through sacrifice. And it telepathically projects the identity of the lucky winner to the “Potter,” in this case a mentally challenged man (Sean Bridgers) who crafts a jug with the person’s likeness. Ada’s crime isn’t that she’s become impregnated by her improbably attractive brother Jessaby (Daniel Manche), but that she discovered her “jug face” and hid it from the clan, leading to much bloodier consequences than if she’d just gone gently into that good pit. Still, despite the presence of sanguinary executive producer Lucky McKee (The Woman, Red), Kinkle shows a deft hand at pacing and the gore is kept to a minimum. Indeed, the most disturbing part of Jug Face might be the point when you realize Ada’s mom, who makes Carrie‘s Margaret White look like Carol Brady, is played by Sean Young (Blade Runner). “Let me tell you about my mother,” indeed.