Review of Chad Archibald’s body horror flick “Bite”
Directed by: Chad Archibald
Run time: 90 minutes
Once every couple of years, a movie comes along that reminds me that I LOVE a good body horror flick. In 2012, it was the Soska sisters’ “American Mary”. A year later, it was Eric England’s “Contracted”. Well, 2016 bring us a new entry into the genre that joins those films and many other great, gross body horror movies. The title is “Bite” and it has been on my radar ever since I first read about it, after it’s debut at Fantasia 2015. The publicity for the film was quite impressive. I mean it was all over Twitter and Facebook! Much of the marketing material sited the fact(?) that at least one person had vomited, during the first showing, and another fainted. I had to see this!
The movie begins with Casey (Begovic) on vacation, with her two girlfriends Jill (Wozniak) and Kirsten (Yuen), in Costa Rica. About 15 seconds into the film, I was rolling my eyes. ANOTHER found footage film?!? Don’t worry though, my friends. Archibald and cinematographer Jeff Maher only use the shaky, overdone gimmick in the beginning and for a few quick flashbacks. Whew! So… Costa Rica. The girls are celebrating Casey’s last week of singlehood, before she gets married to her handsome, investment banker fiance Jared (Gray). They soak up some sun, down some drinks, and play (maybe a little too much) with the locals. When they travel to an off the beaten path hot spring, Casey is bitten by something under the water. Oh well… Just another bite to add to the vacation collection.
It isn’t until they get home that Casey starts to not feel so hot. What starts as a bumpy bite and some light vomiting, soon becomes something a lot more scary. Slowly Casey begins to transform, not only physically but mentally as well, into something inhuman… and slimy… and (according to the people who come into contact with her) stinky as hell.
Once the transformation kicks into gear, “Bite” becomes possibly the best paced, most well-rounded body horror movie this side of Cronenberg. Really every aspect of it is impressive. A great performance from Begovic, some wonderful cinematography, and some of the best gross-out effects you are going to find in an indie horror film are all factors. The story is also good, and uses some well placed fear of commitment/ motherhood metaphors along the way. Yes, you do find yourself asking “Why the hell doesn’t she just go to the hospital?”, but if you can get past that and allow yourself to be in the apartment with Casey as she goes through the infection you will most likely enjoy this movie. It is further proof that indie horror is alive and well.
All in all, I really liked “Bite”. Archibald’s creation is effectively gross and equally fun. I will issue one warning: don’t watch this right before swimming or going on vacation to Costa Rica. Also it is not at all for the faint of heart, but if you were interested enough to read this review, you are probably not bothered by that. I will admit… I immediately took a shower, after it ended. Oh well… at least I didn’t vomit.