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Film / Bug

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(For other uses of the term "Bug", see the disambiguation page)

Bug is a 2006 Psychological Horror film based on a play by Tracy Letts, directed by William Friedkin and starring Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon.

It centers around Agnes, an extremely lonely woman living in an Oklahoma motel room after the breakup of her marriage. A friend introduces her to Peter, who is similarly lonely, and the two start enjoying each other's company. The two open up to each other and then...well...

An intriguing example of folie à deux. Maybe. Not to be confused with the 1975 William Castle-produced film about mutant cockroaches.


The movie contains examples of:

  • Broken Bird: Agnes.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Peter. Agnes, eventually.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: What Peter does to Agnes. Agnes goes from a lonely, vulnerable woman to a tinfoil plastering suicidal conspiracy theorist.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Agnes is divorced from a real Jerkass - who's in prison at the start of the movie and shows up to threaten her - and her son was stolen from a supermarket cart while she was shopping. Her overwhelming guilt and sadness leave her receptive to Peter's peculiar charisma.
  • Downer Ending: Agnes and Peter kill themselves by setting themselves on fire.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Though it’s not clear how much time passes in the film, Agnes and Peter are Driven to Suicide before the motel has time to evict them for non-payment, so it can’t cover a period of more than a couple weeks.
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  • Fourth Date Marriage: A dark variation. Agnes rejects her best friend, declares that Peter is the only thing she has, and kills herself with Peter after only knowing him a few weeks.
  • Genre-Busting: The film would normally be considered a psychological drama or thriller while the studio promoted it as straight-up horror and the director considers it a dark romantic comedy. Maybe it's left up to the viewer.
  • Jerkass: Jerry.
  • Insane Equals Violent: Peter is this, to himself and others.
  • Law of Conservation of Detail: Agnes and Peter use this type of reasoning to conclude how the bugs came to be and the only way to stop them.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Peter.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Or extreme loneliness, for that matter.
  • Mind-Control Conspiracy: According to Peter, this is why he is on the run.
  • My Greatest Failure: Agnes feels this way about not running away from her abusive ex with her son before her son was kidnapped.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: It's nothing like the Saw movies. It's more psychological than that.
  • Psycho Supporter: Agnes. Peter isn't her first one, either.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Are the phone calls real? If they are, who's calling? One theory is it's Agnes' estranged son.
  • Room Full of Crazy: The motel room slowly turns into one.
  • Sanity Slippage: Basically the plot of the movie.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Peter claims to be this. It may even be true.
  • The Tooth Hurts: Peter uses a pair of pliers to rip out his molar's filling which he believes is where the "egg sac" is. Boy, it sure isn't pretty to see tons of blood pouring out of his mouth like that while screaming in great pain. Regardless, Peter and Agnes both end up seeing the "bugs" in the tooth under the microscope.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Everything in the film might be really happening. Or the characters could be heavy crystal meth users and we're seeing their delusions. Or Peter may be clinically insane and dragging Agnes into hell. You'll never know. Unless you listen to the director's DVD commentary.


Example of: