A hopeful future often travels together with the notion of dreams and aspirations. This is often depicted out of the perspective of youth seeking a direction on their journey through life. Often it is a difficult journey, which can even be harder to commence while parents, friends, and other people of various significance begin to affect the decisions of those who are coming of age. Lightening Bug touches on this very theme in a remarkably clever manner, as it deals with a young man's desire to leave his small Alabama home for a better life elsewhere.
A criminal suggestive opening leads the audience into think of why and who are the people involved in the scene. The identity and motive of the people involved in the wrongdoings are not revealed, but it leaves the audience wondering and thinking. These notions will leave audience's with an ominous sense of forthcoming trouble, but when and where remains unknown until the appropriate moment when the audience least expects it. The audience might have the ability to guess why and who is behind the suggestive opening. However, the director and writer Robert Hall delivers several situations in the film that continue to cloud the audience's judgment and logic to get a clear idea of who and why. This displays that Hall has thoughtfully put together an intriguing story for the audience.
Shortly after the troubling opening, the audience gets to witness Jenny Graves (Ashley Laurence), who many will recognize from Hellraiser (1987), arrive to Alabama from Detroit with her two sons. Jenny seems to have fled something, which is never revealed, as they arrive to their new home in rural Alabama. In addition, her older son Green wonders if they can go trick or treating, but Jenny informs her son that they have missed Halloween. This might suggest why Green later in his late teens has such a fond attachment to this frightful holiday and to horror.
The film quickly moves forward into the late adolescence of Green (Bret Harrison), as he turns 18 and has discovered that he has an artistic talent that he uses to create frightful creatures and other horrific creations. However, most people in his small town seem to be in complete disconnection with the world while Green has to face this ignorance on a daily basis. Oppression by an abusive stepfather and Christian persecution are some of the difficulties that Green has to struggle with while also thinking of his little brother and mother's well being. There are many chains that keep Green from beginning to bloom artistically while the greatest of them is misconception and ignorance of people in his environment.
In the woods outside Green's trailer home, he can find small lightening bugs that give him a chance to separate himself from the ignorance of the small town. It also allows him to play and have fun, which provides a chance for hopes and dreams. Green desires nothing else than to work in the film industry creating monsters and other horrific beasts to create a fright, or scare within the audience. However, can he break the chains that keep him in the small Alabamian town in which he grew up?
Lightening Bug is a small film that completely missed the theaters, but now is released on DVD. It is fortunate that some of these independent films get an opportunity to be seen, as this one delivers an amusing and intelligent story that deals with coming of age and the social pressures of being a teen. It also has a mild dose of existentialism, as it addresses the issue of choosing a direction in life. In one of the opening shots the audience can see a car chose a direction while approaching a fork in the road. This very scene could symbolize the importance of choosing the right path for oneself, as the individual will only have the opportunity to live the life of oneself. Thus, it is essential to seize the day, and live a life to the fullest while staying true to oneself. Lastly, the ill-omened opening continues to linger throughout the film, which adds another intriguing ingredient to the film.