Gruesome Reviews

“Bite” (2016) Needs More Than A Bit Of Ointment…

One of the films that really intrigued me after hearing about it last year was called Bite. I’d read about its premise and while that didn’t really excite me all too much, the reports of people vomiting in disgust and passing out while watching it at last year’s Fantasia Film Festival immediately shot it to the top of my “Must See” list for 2016. Well, Bite has just premiered on VOD this week, so I anxiously sat myself down with a tall glass of cola and a small bowl full of my favorite candy, Swedish Fish (are these things really from Sweden?), and I happily girded my loins in anticipation of being entertained (& completely sickened) at the spectacle I was about to watch. Ninety minutes later I found myself pondering what all the fuss was about (& groaning ‘cuz my tummy was full of soda & candy…). Bite1 Although she’s begun to have some doubts, Casey (Elma Begovic) is about to get married to Jared (Jordan Gray), but before she takes a walk down the aisle she goes on a “Girls Only” trip to Costa Rica with her two best friends, Kirsten (Denise Yuen) and Jill (Annette Wozniak). While on vacation, the girls do what I assume single girls on vacation do which would include dancing, drinking and going swimming in isolated lagoons. The girls do all this but Casey drunkenly goes the extra mile and hooks up with someone she meets while dancing as well. She awakens the next day with no real recollection of what she did, but she also doesn’t have her engagement ring on either. The loss of her ring combined with the possibility of what she might have done while on vacation (She doesn’t really remember if she did or didn’t actually cheat on Jared) only reinforces what she’s begun to think about getting married, so Casey prepares to tell Jared that she wants to postpone their wedding. But something bit Casey while she was swimming with her friends in that lonely lagoon in Costa Rica, and the bite is starting to fester just a bit… As the film continues, the spot where Casey was bit on begins to sprout unsightly sores that ooze a clear gooey substance. Casey also begins to vomit the same gooey clear slime every once in awhile. But oddly enough, she doesn’t get up and go to the doctor or the local ER, she just frets and rubs the spot with hydrogen peroxide. And when she shares the news of her throwing up & feeling sick with Jill, she mentions that maybe Casey is pregnant. Casey strongly denies that possibility, but once she takes a pregnancy test she discovers that she is indeed with child. But with whose child? Jared? The stranger she met in Costa Rica? Or whatever bit her in that darn lagoon? Once she begins to throw up oodles of stuff that looks like large caviar (or those brightly hued “Bobas” that you get at your local frozen yogurt joint), it’s evident that she isn’t pregnant with a human fetus. bite-movie-001 Casey continues to deteriorate and change into what I’m gonna call (In tribute to Cronenburg’s 1986 masterpiece) “Caseyfly”, so she also decides to do some redecorating as well. Her modest apartment begins to take on the trappings of a hive of sorts, a oozy gooey hive full of brown webbing and tons of that multicolored caviar she keeps throwing up. Her hair has fallen out, her fingernails have fallen out (She pulls one off and eats it in one of the film’s more unsavory scenes), and she’s begun to grow both scales and unsightly lumps all over her body. But none of this really seems to bother Caseyfly as much as the idea of Jared cheating on her, and after a bit of misleading information from Jill – that’s exactly what he does, with Jill! But one of Caseyfly’s new found abilities is some really excellent hearing, and once she hears the scandalous couple making whoopee in a car right outside of the apartment building where both Casey and Jared live (In separate apartments. Along with his mother, who’s the building manager as well. Long story), she emits a piercing scream that makes both of them vomit mid coitus! Casey also secretes different colored ooze from both her mouth and her hand that have various purposes. The red ooze she vomits out is acidic and melts flesh right off the bone (as Jared’s disapproving mother soon finds out). The blue ooze she emits from the palm of her hand acts as a sealing agent (as Kirsten finds out when she comes around to investigate why no one’s heard from Casey in awhile). Add those to her banshee like scream and you practically have a new superhero in the making! Or a super villain depending on your outlook… There’s a bit more to Bite than I’m describing here, but not enough to make it a better film. It attempts to mix its body horror theme with dashes of infidelity and societal pressure, but it doesn’t pay enough attention to the latter two to make much of a difference to the story. The script by Jayme Laforest strikes out with the themes of infidelity/societal pressure but it hits a solid triple with everything else. The idea of a woman slowly changing into an insect that will do anything to protect her babies (& there are THOUSANDS of them here) is sorta Kafka-esque and sorta Cronenburg-ian, and it sorta works for the most part, but it’s hardly the most nauseating movie I’ve ever seen. I’m led to wonder if the film just had some great publicists that hired a couple of actors to get sick while watching to garner some press for the film. It certainly is sticky and gooey though, the gooiest horror movie I’ve seen in a long while actually. But that doesn’t mean it’s an especially good horror movie. It’s just a gooey one. bite-movie The characters do some really stupid things here as well. Two characters get into Casey’s apartment (After its become a hive) but are so focused on finding Caseyfly that they don’t seem to realize how fucked up their surroundings are. I’d like to think that its the script winking at the audience and trying to add some humor into the proceedings, but I’m just not too sure of that. But kudos the all the actors here for playing everything as straight as they possibly can, and special kudos to Ms. Begovic, who had to be miserable as she frolicked around in that (Admittedly) amazing set that features tons of slime, ooze, bobas, and cobwebs. She ends up covered in the stuff as well, but if she was ever uncomfortable, I couldn’t tell. She owns every scene she’s in. Director Chad Archibald does a good job of keeping everything effectively repulsive, and the film is never boring. But it’s never really scary either, it just moves along getting stickier and stickier as it attempts to gross out its audience. And while it might skeeve out those of you who have weaker constitutions, I’m the motherfucking Black Saint and not only do I live in New York City (the home of puppy sized rats and frozen spit), I worked as a subway conductor here for 15 years. So I think it’s fair to say that I’ve seen some seriously creepy stuff both above & below ground in my life. So seeing a woman swimming in slime and caviar for ninety minutes doesn’t really move me as much as it might move some of you… Bite 1.8 out of 5 stars (1.8 / 5) bite_movie_poster

The Black Saint
Santos Ellin Jr (AKA The Black Saint) has been watching films of dubious quality since time began, he has also watched a few horror films along the way as well. He has been writing for Horrornews.net for the last four years and was promoted to the position of Lead Theatrical Reviewer/Interviewer/PR last year. He makes so much money doing this that he needs do nothing else with his life but he was also asked to be a co-host of the Horror News Radio podcast last year as well. It’s been said (by a family member) that he is indeed the glue that holds the podcast together although his co-hosts might not agree. He thinks they are all jealous of him anyway.
The Black Saint
Santos Ellin Jr (AKA The Black Saint) has been watching films of dubious quality since time began, he has also watched a few horror films along the way as well. He has been writing for Horrornews.net for the last four years and was promoted to the position of Lead Theatrical Reviewer/Interviewer/PR last year. He makes so much money doing this that he needs do nothing else with his life but he was also asked to be a co-host of the Horror News Radio podcast last year as well. It’s been said (by a family member) that he is indeed the glue that holds the podcast together although his co-hosts might not agree. He thinks they are all jealous of him anyway.