May 18, 2016 Bite (Movie Review)
Self-doubt, fear, jealousy, love, and ooey-gooey bug goodness are just a few of the intrigues in the movie Bite. Directed by Chad Archibald (The Drownsman 2014, Ejecta 2014) and produced by his company Black Fawn Films, Bite was well-received at the 2015 Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal. Winning an Audience Award, Bite has gone on to appear at numerous film festivals. Starring Elma Begovic (Money 2010, Save Yourself 2015) as Casey, Annette Wozniak (All I Need 2013, Secret Santa 2015) as Jill, Denise Yuen (Man Underground 2015, All For One TV series) as Kirsten, Jordan Gray (Speedbag 2006, The Lockpicker 2015) as Jared, Lawrene Denkers (Liminality 2014, A Heart’s Journey 2015) as Mrs. Kennedy, Barry Birnberg (F2: Forensic Factor TV series, Urban Legends TV series) as Mr. Mathenson, Daniel Klimitz (debut film) as Mao, Tianna Nori (The Project: Guatemala TV series, Save Yourself 2015) as Joanne, and Caroline Palmer (The Drownsman 2014, Reign TV series) as Hannah, this Horror flick centers its gross factor and jumps not at blood and gore, but at the uncomfortable factors of bugs, psychological stress, and the lengths a woman would go to for love.
The friends arrive in Costa Rica to celebrate the bachelorette party of Casey, soon to be married to Jared; a successful financial broker. With a huge rock of a diamond on her finger, the three friends enter their hotel room and begin the happenings of a pretty traditional bachelorette. Using first-person point of view in a proper usage, viewers witness the drinking, partying, an unexpected cheating, and a simple bug bite while swimming. After having lost her ring, conveying doubts about marriage, guilt about cheating, and an increasingly infected bug bite, Casey returns home to face Jared.
Once home, Jared shows his excitement about a future family with a gift of a restored family baby’s high chair. Obvious discomfort with the idea is present on Casey’s face. Seeking advice and comfort from her friends, they advise her to speak to Jared and let him know how she feels. Scared of becoming married and facing Jared with the news of the lost ring, the cheating, and her fear of not being ready to marry, she continues to put off the conversation. Casey, increasingly getting sicker, prepares a dinner in order to speak to Jared. Waiting for Jared to arrive, late as usual since his job is ever demanding, she overhears voices. Approaching the door, as she thinks they are just outside, she hears Jared and his mother Mrs. Kennedy speaking, the mother expressing her dislike of Casey. Casey rushes to the table to sit when she thinks Jared is about to enter, but realizes that he is further than she thought.
During dinner, Casey exhibits nausea at the sound of Jared eating, as well as the taste and smell of food, almost similar to morning sickness. As she runs to relieve herself in the bathroom, she realizes it is not normal nausea. Physical changes such as this being to occur more. Once she feels better, she tries to seduce Jared into premarital coitus, at his slight resistance, only to be interrupted as he touches the bite, which is becoming more painful and infected. After this, Casey pushes Jared out and begins her mental breakdown, locking herself to her apartment.
This is where the film begins to get its gross factor. Casey is changing. Into what? That is unknown, but it has to do with the bug bite. She hears everything, begins to lay roe-like eggs, makes webs, and physically begins to deteriorate. Mass amounts of goo, ooze, and slime are present everywhere. She cannot eat anything, except bugs, and develops a protective behavior over her eggs. People begin to die when they or she are threatened, especially when it turns out that a friend was involved in the happenings during the bachelorette.
The details in her evolution are well thought out and filled with a lot of disgusting moments. With that in mind, there was obviously a lot of studying on insects and their habits involved in the making of Bite. Elma Begovic allows the role of Casey to consume her, embracing the bite that is taking over her body. Jordan Gray plays the loving, but easily swayed, husband-to-be well. Annette Wozniak portrays her character of the self-involved, less caring friend to perfection as Denise Yuen is the typical best friend, honestly concerned. Not all Horrors need to be gory and bloody, and Bite manages to gross out viewers without the use of blood. Sometimes there are other things, besides bodies getting chopped, that depict more horror than can be imagined.
With a bit of a slow start from some character development, Bite rolls into a story arc filled with excitement, and stomach turning events. The cinematography is done well to showcase the darkness and isolation Casey is going through. In addition, there are a lot of interesting topics touched on the film, such as Casey exhibiting reservations about being a mom, yet being thrust into primitive, instinctive parenting to protect the eggs. With 88 minutes of compelling story, and the possibility of a sequel, Bite had a select theater release as well as an iTunes and VOD availability May 6th, 2016, and is definitely a welcomed addition to the Horror genre. CrypticRock gives Bite 4 out of 5 stars.