Directed by Jeannot Szwarc
Produced by William Castle
Written by William Castle & Thomas Page
Director of Photograpy Michael Hugo
Music by Charles Fox
Cast: Bradford Dillman, Joanna Miles, Jamie Smith Jackson & Richard Gilliland
1975/99 mins/Color/Dolby Mono
1.85:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1
Review from the Paramount Home Entertainment DVD
I couldn't begin to list the number of films that sounded good when I read about them, but were disappointing when I finally saw them. (There would be many shouts of "blasphemy" if I named two horror classics that I hated the first time that I saw them because they just couldn't live up to the many descriptions that I'd read about them over the years.) Yes, there are many, many films (especially foreign ones) which sound great on paper, but rarely deliver the goods. BUG, however, is a film that I never thought sounded very good. For years, I'd read about the film concerning bugs that could start fires and thought that it sounded like a real turkey. Now, that I've seen BUG, I can tell you, for once, I was right.
BUG opens with an earthquake near a California desert/college/suburb area, which leaves a gaping crater near a small farm. A group of insects which resemble cockroaches wearing brown seashells emerge from the crater. These unique bugs have the ability to start fires by rubbing their hind legs together. Local scientist James Parmiter (Bradford Dillman of PIRANHA) develops an interest in the bugs, which are blind and like to travel inside the exhaust pipes of cars. After the bugs cause several deaths and injuries, and some major fires, Parmiter decides to study them intently. His questions about the insects' ability to breed leads to an even greater threat and sends Parmiter to the brink of insanity.
Here's my problem with movies like BUG: You're walking along and you see an insect (which actually looks like a rock) which can start fires. What do you do? You run! It's just that simple. And that's why BUG isn't scary. The scenes in which people are "attacked" by the bugs look like exactly what they are -- actors flailing around while holding prop bugs to their faces. The only scene like this which is even remotely creepy is the one in which a bug gets loose in a woman's hair. Director Jeannot Szwarc (who would go on to make JAWS 2) doesn't even take advantage of the fact that skittering cockroaches can be pretty damn icky (as seen in CREEPSHOW). Instead, these new insects just sit around waiting to fall on some unsuspecting victim...that's right, I said fall on. And, he treats us to seemingly endless shots of the crater. Wooo! The last 15 minutes of the movie offer some interesting twists, but A) we're never told exactly why they happen, and B) the special effects in the finale are quite questionable. The majority of BUG simply features characters standing around talking about the insects, or (even worse) shots of the bugs doing nothing. BUG was the last film was showman producer/director William Castle and it's amazing to think that this man who was so famous for goofy gimmicks would be associated with such a snoozefest.
BUG creeps onto DVD courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The transfer is OK, although the image is dotted with grain and minor defects from the source print. The colors are fine, although slightly washed-out at times. The flesh tones show some signs of shimmering and artifacting is visible in many scenes. The DVD carries a wildly unbalanced Dolby Digital mono audio track which features the "electronic music" of Charles Fox, which translates into really annoying computer sounds. The dynamic range on the track is off, so that the dialogue is soft and quiet, while the "electronic music" is quite loud and jarring. And the seemingly non-stop bug sound effects are also loud, meaning that one is constantly reaching for the remote. There are no extra features on this DVD.
No points were allowed since there is no extras.
This Film Features:
Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2004. ©
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