Jugface is somewhat similar to We Are What We Are, in that it is about young women in rural, forcibly isolated communities during with bizarre culture rituals.
In Jugface, this community was previously ravaged by disease but are now saved by a creature in a pit (which thankfully is not seen). Occasionally the thing in the pit sends a vision to Dawai (Sean Bridgers showing frightening range-) a mentally disabled man who then crafts a jug with a face on it. The person who is depicted is sacrificed quite messily, their blood flowing down into the water of the pit.
In any other film, the monster would be the focus of the film.
In Jugface, it focuses on restless teenaged Ada (Lauren Ashley Carter, showing range as well) a pleasant girl prone to making really poor decisions, like carrying on a secret affair with Jesseby…her brother.
Things fall apart quickly.
Her father Sustin suddenly lets her know that she has been promised in marriage to a local boy, Bodey, and local custom requires them to check her for purity. Her brother is not inclined to be helpful. More worrisome, is the fact that when she stops by to see her friend Dawai, he is passed out, and her face is on the last jug he made. Out of terror, Ada takes the jug and hides it in the woods.
It gets worse.
Just because you are not sacrificed to the pit, doesn’t mean the thing in the pit can’t get out and get you itself. And those it gets roam the woods forever known only as the “Shunned.”
The thing in the pit begins lashing out violently at the community, and Ada convinces Dawai to make another jug, causing the sacrifice of an innocent. As the killing continues, Dawai is blamed and the community turns on him.
Ada is a frustrating character, one whose selfish actions get nearly everyone killed. But her plight is understandable, and the most horrific part of the whole movie to me. Would you sacrifice your life for the people around you…especially if you didn’t like them? Even if it meant they face a horrible death?
And those questions are darker than anything in a pit.