BITE [FrightFest 2015]

PrintE-mail Written by Joel Harley

“It's just a bite.” Cue peals of laughter and groans from the audience that barely let up until the end. The queasy body horror movie is riding high on its reputation of barf bags and vomiting audience members, but what they won't tell you is how incredibly silly the film actually is.

Holidaying with her chums, soon-to-be married Casey thinks nothing of the small bug bite she gets to the butt while swimming in an isolated jungle lake. “It's just a bite,” she shrugs, before the all-caps exclamatory title card drops. Dropped, like the found footage we had all feared it was going to be. Back home, Casey isn't feeling so good. Deathly pale (although she and all her girlfriends do all seem to have returned back from their beach holiday conspicuously milk bottle white), covered in sores and unable to keep her food down, it seems like it might be a bit more than 'just a bite' after all.

Don't want children? The film punishes Casey's commitment phobia by making her the worst kind of pregnant; filled to the brim with bug pupae and experiencing a morning sickness from hell. The gender politics don't end there either – every woman in the film is depicted in something of a negative light, female friendship a hive of jealousy and calling each other whores all the time. Worst of all is Casey's future mother-in-law, a painful shrew stereotype who dominates the screen in all the wrong ways. Her son isn't given much more to work with, though – a bland idiot whose cluelessness and lack of initiative stops the film from falling apart within ten minutes of Casey being back home.

Nevertheless, the characters are secondary to that infamous body horror we all came to see, and Bite doesn't disappoint on that front. Casey's bodily transformation is truly stomach-churning, reminiscent of Cronenberg's The Fly and James Gunn's Slither. If stories of puking in the aisles seem plausible, that's only because Casey does a lot of hurling in the movie – anyone with a sympathetic gag reflex would be wise to pass on this one. Whenever Casey is alone in her apartment is when the story is at its strongest – queasy, squelching slop that leaves viewers green around the gills.

It's whenever anyone else shows up that it falls apart, weighed down by unlikeable characters, idiot decisions and the truly questionable handling of an implied rape sequence. Bite will have you feeling sick alright, but not always for the right reasons.

BITE / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: CHAD ARCHIBALD / SCREENPLAY: JAYME LAFOREST / STARRING: ELMA BEGOVIC, ANNETTE WOZNIAK, JORDAN GRAY, LAWRENCE DENKERS / RELEASE DATE: TBC
 


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