Bite almost sailed right under my radar. I first heard of it when a friend reviewed it, it sounded interesting and I made note of it. When I read about it being responsible for several people vomiting at Fantasia and I had to see it.
Bite is the story of a vacation gone badly wrong. Three friends Casey, Kristen and Jill journey to Costa Rica to celebrate Casey’s impending wedding. But things go badly wrong and Casey is left was a nasty bite from one of the local insects and a blackout of several hours that ended up with her waking naked on the beach.
Once she gets home things get worse. She’s forced to face the fact her relationship has serious issues, not the least of which is her future mother in law. Her memories are slowly coming back, and they are not good. And that bug bite is turning into a nasty infection of some sort which is making her look and act very different. And yes, this is the part that had people puking.
The film’s last act gets very gross with all manner of fluids finding their way on screen, they ooze out, get spat up and at people, vomited and turn up unexplained. And as Casey transforms into some kind of human/bug hybrid she turns her apartment into a nest for the eggs that ooze from her mouth. And she needs to feed, and anyone who enters the apartment is fair game. Indeed, the effects may well be the real star here with oozing, pus filled wounds, chemical burns and other insect attack damage as well as the creature Casey becomes. Thankfully these are done via practical effects with just a few scraps of CGI here and there.
Bite at times resembles Cronenberg’s version of The Fly, only with more emphasis on the horror elements. Which is not to say the film has no depth, the subplot of Casey’s missing hours, (and her friends reaction to them), dovetails nicely with the main story and accentuates her relationship issues. There is a lot going on under the surface but the horror elements are front and center at all times unlike something like Spring which has an identity crisis at times.
The acting is is all quite good but special praise has to be given to Elma Begovic as Casey. She really takes on the physical manifestations of the transformation not just in the makeup but her movements and mannerisms. She really creates the sense of someone no longer quite human with her quick jerky movement and distorted voice. Like the rest of the cast she is a relative newcomer with mostly tv roles to her credit.
Director Chad Archibald has a solid list of genre credits as a director, (Ejecta and Drownsman among others) and producer, (most notably Antisocial and Hellmouth) and this fits in with them. He knows how make the most of a modest budget and deliver a satisfying film that will make audiences and investors happy. He and his company Black Fawn Films could be a major genre force in coming years.
Bite is a good, solid film with some depth to go with it’s goo. Is it enough to make you throw up? That depends on you, I found it gross but not that gross. your mileage may vary. Watch it and find out.