Tuesday, May 10, 2016

FILM REVIEW: Bite (2015)


After that great trailer and those amazing screenshots...Bite  shot up to my "most anticipated films" list last year...and I simply could not stand waiting to finally see this one. Well...after having seen it...I'm here to say...that sometimes expectations are met with a gross display of disappointment. And when I say gross...I mean more like big mess, rather than cool body horror stuff. Here...let me 'splain.

Coming at you with a modest budget of...like...twelve dollars, Bite  promises to deliver all kinds of amazingness with the premise of an unfortunate girl who goes off to foreign soil for a bachelorette getaway...only to get bitten and infected by some unknown bug and turn into some kind of neck-twitching being with a penchant for bath pearls from Bath and Body Works.

Actually...let's back up a little and explain a little more here.

Chad Archibald wrote and directed Bite which premiered at a few genre film festivals later last year to reports of people throwing up and passing out in the aisles. I wonder if some passed out on the reported pools of vomit. Actually...I'm more curious at what exactly people threw up at...because, quite honestly...either I have finally become so jaded with cinema that nothing really gets to me anymore...or this film felt pretty tame and tedious. I'm serious. I really wanted this film to hit me dead center center in my sweet spot after being wowed by that trailer. You see...my horror kryptonite has always been tiny bug/organism body horror stuff...as well as serious demonic possession stuff. And, so...after I watched the trailer for Bite...I felt like I was in store for some truly horrific stuff. And...yet...

The Fly...this is not.
Bite  opens found footage style as Casey (Elma Begovic) and her girlfriends are celebrating her bachelorette party off in some foreign country that apparently still harbors some weird creatures that have yet to infect anyone else with their vicious bite...other than these American tourists. I wanna say that they are in South America, or something...but, I really don't remember which specific country it was...and I'm too lazy and tired to look it up. No worries, tho...these particulars are really not important to the story. You know what's important? Purple Rain  is important. That's an Academy Award winning story about a boy and his motorcycle and Lake Minnetonka.

But, anyway, the film ditches the found footage gimmick and goes for the more traditional narrative at this point....and the story sort of progresses (or regresses...I'll allow you to judge that for yourself)...when Casey gets back to her fiance...who, apparently, is a virgin...or something. Again...this film kind of lost my interest here and there...and Jesus...I wish that I had my phone on me...because it is definitely one of those films that will have you Tweeting and Facebooking the whole time "watching" it. However, I was phoneless at the time...so, I had to endure the hour and a half running time. So...ummm...her fiance lives like down the hall from her...which is absolutely weird when he says stuff like..."Casey...I've been calling you for days and wondering where you've been!"...because...dude literally lives a few doors down from her. By the way...the acting is pretty damn atrocious...even for a horror film of this caliber. So much so that it gets a little distracting when certain characters make some absolutely stupid decisions later on in the film. The writing is so damn loose that it lends quite a bit to the shoddiness of the entire thing. There's a scene early on in the film where we are shown the interior to Casey's apartment and there's a shot of an issue of Fangoria just there. And once we get to know the characters in this film...I was left wondering...well...who's goddamn Fango was that?? Because clearly NONE of these people would be caught dead with a copy of Fango in his or her possession. And that's the kind of thing that bugged (no pun intended) me the most. Things that are just there randomly and have absolutely zero bearing on anything else in the story. Create purpose and motivation, man...give us a few characters to get behind and care about...rather than creating two-dimensional arcs around the main centerpiece of the story.

Screenshots of the inside of Casey's apartment...because that's pretty much as good as it gets with this one.
The ONLY bright spot in this film is the whole set design and character design inside of Casey's apartment once she goes full-on bug lady. The entire look of the apartment looks way more expensive than whatever the budget is...and gives you a little bit of hope that this could actually work. Except...it doesn't. In fact...it kind of feels like they shot that whole interior stuff first for a much more expensive FX sizzle reel...and then just plugged all the other stuff in afterwards. It has that all-over-the-place style of script writing that I really cannot stand. There's even a final scene that feels so contrived...as if they shot it for a DVD stinger....or something. And, Jesus...all of the body-horror Cronenberg homages felt so damn forced. Like...I get that there is some serious influence from The Fly  and stuff like that...but, at least give us some subtleties...rather than blatantly showing the audience that this film was made specifically as a Cronenberg love-fest. Hell...even Brandon Cronenberg managed to create his on thing in Antiviral, while also giving his dad props...instead of ripping him off.

Was that a little mean? I'm sorry. I still have that Prince thing that I'm dealing with. That little guy meant so much to me and my family...really gonna miss him. *sheds purple tears*

Anyhow...I dunno, man. I really, really wanted to love this film...especially after that crazy trailer. But, in the end...I kind of hated it. Like...so much so that I had this review for the film sitting in my Blogger editing area waiting to be published...because I honestly didn't wanna send out any negativity for anything artistic anymore. I seriously had no intention of ever publishing it...because what if I was wrong? What if I was the lone dufus going around hating on a film that everybody loved? However, I talked to a few really good friends of mine who also disliked Bite...and they convinced me that it was my responsibility as a devoted horror fan to steer other devoted horror fans away from blowing 20 bucks on a Blu-ray that they will ultimately regret. So here we are. I just find it a little weird that a film of this particular quality can get a limited theatrical release and bigtime distribution on Blu-ray...and, yet films like Dead Weight  and Francesca  struggle to find a release date. Bite  really feels like I would've just stumbled on it at the ole RedBox, paid a dollar, have an underwhelming experience at home with it....and just forget about it a day later. Instead...this one really bummed me out.

Look...I'm not gonna tell you what to do and what not to do with your money. You work hard. You earn it every damn week. You're grown...and you can make these choices on your own. However...The Witch  is sitting there on the same self, man. And so is Deadpool...and that German Francesca  mediabook...and just about anything else instead of Bite, man. I guess the moral of this particular story is...stay away from Bite. It really isn't all that good. I wish to the highest heavens above that it was...but, sadly...it is not. Also...I use a lot...of....ellipses. Like....A LOT.

LOOK AT THIS PHOTO! This movie should have been as amazing as this photo. Sadly....no.




Here's a random photo of Cronenberg's daughter, Caitlin because I've been crushing on her lately...




Thanks for reading,

bryan.




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