Monday, November 16, 2009

Lightning Bug (2004) NR - 3 Stars

I liked this quirky movie with it's outstanding cast of quirky characters. With a sort of a sixth sense of separation feel, the cast entwines perfectly to cause effects on each others lives. The only reason I am not putting this one in my bizarre category is that I don't want to categorize domestic violence as anything else but what it is. This is a sad movie about a good kid who's dreams are to become a makeup artist for horror films. Living in a back road southern country town, he imagines his escape will come from the skills he possesses designing horrifying special effects. Little yet does he realize, the most horrific effect he will encounter is not one of his own making.

Green Graves (Bret Harrison), and his younger brother Jay (Lucas Till), live with their mother Jenny (Ashley Laurence), in a trailer in a small southern town. Jenny can't make it on her own feeding two young boys so she hooks up with Earl (Kevin Gage), in order to make ends meet. For awhile things are better for the family with extra income to afford Christmas's and BBQ's with Earl's cousin Rusty (Josh Todd). But the more comfortable Earl gets with his ready made family, the more his abusive tendencies emerge as he starts yelling at everyone around him.

To escape his living hell, Green talks old man Tightwiler (Bob Penny), into letting him direct this years Halloween Show in Tighwillers barn. Green has found he posses a special skill for creating horror as he almost gives Tighwiller a heart attack with his special effect techniques.

Angevin (Laura Prepon), the local girl at the video store, is also stuck in this run down town who's only escape is to live a glamorous life inside of her own head. Her fanatical religious mother, Ms. Duvet (Shannon Eubanks), has not yet learned to let go of her dead husband, clutching tightly on to him in the form of a large white pillow. Angevin has tried to run away from this miserable life before but always feels the need to return and stand by her mother's side.

Green develops an interest with Angevin as she seems extremely attracted to his dark side. It sure beats hanging out in the fields with his friends Tony Benet (Jonathan Spencer) and Billy Martin (George Faughnan), catching lightning bugs. But when Ms. Duvet finds out that her daughter is seeing Green, she forbids the union, damming Green as a boy possessed with Satan.

As Green and Angevin continue their relationship, Ms. Duvet, with God's will inside, stops at nothing to protect her daughter. She has Green arrested for a crime he didn't do and destroys the haunted barn before it can open to the public. Now, with everything taken away from Green that is good in his life, he's about to realize the horror that unfolds in his real life will not be anything he creates with his own hands.

Dry Country Films, Anchor Bay Entertainment
Director: Robert Hall
Writer: Robert Hall
Producers: Robert Hall, Kevin Bocarde, Laura Prepon
I viewed 11/09

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