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John’s Horror Corner: Bite (2015), one of the most ambitiously disgusting indie horrors you’ll see.

June 23, 2016

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MY CALL: Halfway through this movie I went from regretting it to loving every sloppy minute. It borrows heavily from our favorites but knows exactly what it’s doing: delivering one of the most ambitiously disgusting indie horror films you’ve seen. Probably only for devout gorehounds. MOVIES LIKE Bite: The Fly (1986), Species (1995), Drag Me to Hell (2009), Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010), Evil Dead (2013) and Cabin Fever (2002) boast similar elevating gore patterns–as in the further along the movie gets, the gore gets both more intense and more frequent. On the other hand, Afflicted (2013) features a similar transformation pattern with superior characters.  And for more gross insect-related horror try Blue Monkey (1987) and The Nest (1988).

(REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

After her tropical bachelorette party, Casey (Elma Begovic; Bed of the Dead) returns with all sorts of baggage and bug bites. About to get married, she has not yet confessed that she doesn’t want children, or that she lost her engagement ring, or that she might have slept with someone while blackout drunk in Costa Rica. I guess we’re getting the moral early in this one: don’t get drunk and have adulterous sex in Central America. But what’s equally troubling is that, now home and away from the possibly parasite-infested waters, she discovers numerous sensitive red marks all over her body…and they are starting to secrete ooze…and she’s pregnant!

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I had been waiting to see this movie for months–basically since a lot of reviews suggested this was one of the most disgusting movies ever. The pustules and super slimy sticky gooey ooze, the sounds they make when she pops them, the fact that she wakes up glazed in this super viscous ichor, she’s vomiting this yellowish bile–yes, it’s all pretty gross. It doesn’t hold a candle to the execution of Drag Me to Hell (2009) or the slathered slime factor of BioSlime (2010), but it’s effectively quite nasty! LOL

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This misleadingly stupid poster unfortunately would misinform you into thinking this would be stupid and ultra-low budget.
Not the case at all.  Trust the other poster!

Written and directed by Chad Archibald, this movie is GROSS much as the filmfest reviews promised and gorehounds wanted. But it for me fails heavily in the storytelling, writing and (verbal) acting departments. Everything is far more over-explained or in-your-face than is necessary for us to get the point. And what is the point? Surely we didn’t watch this to count Oscar Nomination predictions while watching this–that would make for a rather sobering drinking game.

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Well, this is a lot like having The Fly (1986) told through a female lens complete with a thousand-egg pregnancy. Casey gets slimier, twitchier, and goes full on Brundlefly when she projectile vomits acidic bile to melt her would-be future mother-in-law’s face off. She peels off her fingernails, pulls out her hair in clumps, becomes increasingly animalistic; step by step she is following in Seth Brundle’s footsteps paved by Jeff Goldblum and even has a Geena Davis pregnancy dream.

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Where it differs from The Fly (1986) is the maternal egg chamber. Her apartment is doused with layers of pearl-sized translucent slimy eggs (actually a lot like tree frog eggs) as if someone poured buckets of them over the tables, chairs, bed and even the walls. Then there’s this web-like mesh draped across the walls and furniture as if harbingering a Species (1995) cocoon scene.

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[Actual tree frog eggs.]

Before we know it Casey transforms into a bubbly, dribbling mess of mucus-like oral secretions. As a gooey special effects admirer, I’m totally forgiving the bad acting and writing at this point because this director has an eye for sloppy sickness that I like. Like papier-mache she smears her muck all over the walls, pasting egg clutches throughout the insectoid lair to all but guarantee that when she moves out she won’t see a dollar back on the lease deposit.

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Not since Drag Me to Hell (2009, Alison Lohman), Halloween (2007; Danielle Harris) or Deadgirl (2008; Jenny Spain) have I seen an actress endure so much to make scenes so awesomely gore-filled or weirdly intense. Great job, Elma Begovic! That’s commitment! Not that Annette Wozniak, Denise Yuen, Lawrene Denkers and Jordan Gray didn’t have their gore-slathered moments. But damn, Elma!

We enjoy two gross sex scenes with people vomiting on each other and ruptured pustules (a la Cabin Fever), a dash of monstrous nudity, and the filthiest crusty creature lair since the host chamber in Aliens (1986). And remember the super fun “title shot” jump scares from The Cabin in the Woods (2012) and Drag Me to Hell (2009)? Yeah, there’s some of that, too. This even features the best head stomp I’ve seen since Drive (2011).

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Bite (above); Aliens (below)

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Halfway through this movie I went from maaaaybe regretting it (ok, really regretting it) to just plain loving every sloppy minute. It borrows heavily from our favorites and it knows exactly what it’s doing. Without dabbling in necrophilia (Necromantik), ass-to-mouth (The Human Centipede) or cannibalism (Cannibal Holocaust), this is truly a notably disgusting movie and probably worth the hype. And despite the fact that I found most of the acting and writing to be poor, I am confident that this director (Chad Archibald) has many wonderfully gross places to go and special effects teams to see.

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