Directed by Carter Smith
Jury Selection Winner - Sundance Film Festival 2006
Bugcrush follows a young loner's fascination with the new kid in town. The kid just so happens to be every parent's nightmare, typical stuff right? No. It'd be fine if the fascination led him down the path of recreational drug use and teenage rebellion. In Bugcrush the fascination takes him down an unimaginable and frightening path or the new kid's barn where he keeps a bug that he claims made him sexually climax something indescribable.
The narrative, in many respects is typical in its regard to young boy has obsession with school rebel, like having a crush on the bad kid because we're not supposed to-- its an examination of desire and what lengths we'll go to as individuals for a sense of love and belonging. The bugs are what make this narrative singular. The idea that being infected, or being bitten by a poisonous bug in this case, is all part of the induction or the shared affection. In this particular scene notice the manipulation into a false sense of security until finally the loner has fully submitted. I empathize. I think we can all empathize. We've liked people we shouldn't like and this oftentimes has gotten us into precarious situations that we justify because we're in love and they'll never hurt me. Yet, in every way this situation is wrong. The pacing of this film is fantastic. We're led to this dark place and in the space of a short film Carter gets all of the details just right-- shows us the journey of these two boys to the point of climax where we think we're going to see something sweet and cliche and instead we are submitted to scenic dread to this horrifying experience. I'd even categorize this short as a horror film. The psychology is at play with these two characters and very real, human character vulnerability is drawn out in both of them. We fully empathize before we enter the barn and then Smith flips the switch. The cinematography gives rise to the tension and we get a sense of impending doom.