CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It's that time of year again, readers. The time of year when trees begin to ditch their dull green color for something more vibrant, when the warm weather begins to cool and when food companies decide to put out a limited edition pumpkin spice flavor for literally every product they have. Truly magical.
This change in the season also means that Halloween is just around the corner. And because you like reading lists that I like being paid money to create, I'm giving you my top three modern day horror movies to scare yourself with this Halloween.
A hugely underappreciated horror gem, "Bug" is a thriller based on the acclaimed play by Tracy Letts (who wrote the screenplay for the movie as well). It stars Ashley Judd ("Missing") as Agnes, a waitress living in a motel room who's dealing with an unhealthy combination of an abusive ex-husband who has recently been paroled, a genuinely tragic past and the occasional abuse of drugs and alcohol.
When her friend introduces her to Peter, a drifter and recently discharged soldier, her life gets even more complicated. Peter (Michael Shannon, reprising the role he originated in the play) confides in Agnes about how the U.S. government conducted biological experiments on him and fellow soldiers, and Agnes slowly becomes convinced he's telling the truth.
Aside from one brief cover-your-eyes moment, there's no gore or violence in "Bug." Instead, the horror comes from its claustrophobic setting, the relationship between Peter and Agnes and her slow descent into madness.
Judd and Shannon ("Man of Steel") throw themselves into their roles, delivering extremely fast-paced and emotional monologues so well that late film critic Roger Ebert said in his review "you almost fear for the actors."
Because of its themes of paranoia and trust, "Bug" is more of a mature horror film. It's perfect for those who hate excessive amounts of gore.