Saturday, 18 July 2015
BITE - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Zesty Cinematic Steam Table Buffet o' Babes & Viscous Discharge Premieres @ the 2015 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL in Montreal.
Dir. Chad Archibald
Scr. Jayme Laforest
Starring: Elma Begovic,
Annette Wozniak, Denise Yuen, Jordan Gray, Lawrene Denkers
Review By Greg Klymkiw
Director Chad Archibald finally delivers the picture I suspected he had in him to serve up. After his competently-directed The Drownsman, which mostly suffered from a dreadful script and ludicrous premise, he moved on to co-direct the brilliant science fiction thriller Ejecta. Now he's back behind the camera all on his lonesome, with a terrific cast, stunning special effects and most importantly, a cool premise from his original story which has made for a solid screenplay written by Jayme Laforest.
It's safe to say that Bite claims its rightful (and deserved) position amongst the thrilling explosion of original Canadian horror films taking the world by storm. This enchantingly vile, sick and grotesque B-movie melange, resides in a magical place twixt the hot-babe-going-bunyip antics of Roman Polanski's Repulsion and David Cronenberg's body-decimation gymnastics from The Fly.
Almost needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, Bite is gloriously replete with truck-loads of pus, vomit, gooey sores, icky vaginal discharge and plenty o' viscous ooze (much of it resembling caviar and glass eyes swimming oh-so succulently in deliquescent pools of upchuck) - all of which has been designed to tantalize genre geeks the world over.
Oh, and of course, the movie has plenty of babes in it. Alas, they're never nekkid, but at least we see 'em in bikinis and underwear. (These are tender mercies, but we'll take what we can get.) Nudity or no nudity, this is one solid horror picture.
It's ultimately rooted in good writing which Bite is nicely blessed with. Good movies will almost always have a nice simple narrative to allow for all manner of layering and shading to adorn it and I'm delighted to report that much of what leaps from the page allows Archibald as a director to gussy things up as much as he likes with all manner of perverse touches.
The film opens by telling its twisted tale via home movie footage. This briefly gave me a sinking feeling, but as the subjects were babes who also delivered good performances and uttered some decent dialogue in a relatively realistic setting, I perked myself up and decided to settle in despite my feelings of, "Oh Christ, not another found footage horror film." Cleverly, this stuff doesn't last too long and is, in fact, a stylish manner in which to begin the story which eventually slams into full-on classical visual storytelling mode. (The footage is used later to only move the story forward in realistic contexts to which I was also grateful for.)
Casey (Elma Begovic, a striking exotic beauty with talent to burn) is about to get married. She and her girlfriends Jill (Denise Wozniak) and Kirsten (Denise Yuen) head to a vacation resort paradise carved out of the jungles of an otherwise foul Central American Third World Hell-Hole. It is here where two nasty things happen to our heroine.
Firstly, she gets herself juiced-up and Rohip-nolled by a handsome scumbag who takes her out onto the beach, delivers a solid ploughing to her limp body, steals all her stuff (including her engagement ring) and leaves our lithe lassie lying alone on the sand, dazed and confused.
Secondly, she and her lady friends veer off the beaten track for some fun and frolic. Uh, gals, this is a loathsome Third World jungle; shouldn't you hang back at the resort? Well, if they did, there might not be a movie (or any horror movie for that matter). When our comely damsels take a dip in a jungle watering hole, our already-beleagured heroine gets a painful bite by some unseen bug (or pond creature) in the murky slough they go splashing about in.
Upon returning to Canada, Casey begins to suffer some mighty perplexing and disturbing symptoms. In addition to developing a very heightened sense of hearing, a nasty rash and almost perpetual nausea, the bite on her thigh starts to fester into weird mini-cauliflowered-skin-tag-like globules full of pus.
Adding insult to injury, she discovers she's pregnant.
At this point, the likelihood of her spawning something truly horrific is pretty much going to be a given and slowly, but surely (and disgustingly) she begins to . . . shall we say, transform.
As a creepily painful biological decimation roils within her, she ironically begins to see clearly how so many things in her life are not as peachy-keen as they once seemed. Her friends appear well-meaning to a fault, almost callous. One of them even has designs upon her fiancé.
(Now, if you want, I can get a tad egg-headed here and say there's plenty of noggin-stimulating thematic stuff to chew on - you know, a woman experiences painful physical transformation to yield terrible truths about herself and the world around her, but I'll leave this to all the Women's Studies PhD candidates in the audience to flesh out.)
Speaking of terrible truths, Jared (Jordan Grey), Casey's hubby-to-be, is a self-absorbed knob and Mama's Boy who complains that his night of nookie is coming to an abrupt end after they've attempted to boink and he grabs a fistful of pus from the festering bite on her thigh and she runs to the can in order to woof her guts out.
As for Jared's Mama (Lawrene Denkers in an especially creepy performance), this is one foul, nasty, over-protective harridan. Not only does she question Casey's suitability as a wife to her precious sonny-boy, but does so with all manner of grotesquely over-the-top viciousness that gives Piper Laurie in Carrie a nice run for her money.
Folks, this movie's not about to get pleasant - ever!
Will things take a turn for the worst?
Will murder be on the menu?
Uh, ya think?
And whatever you do, try not eat anything before seeing this movie. Oh, and as a courtesy to the cinema management, consider bringing a receptacle along in case you need to join Casey's vomit party and eject your own manner of bilious globs of puke.
Because you know, it's that kind of movie.
THE FILM CORNER RATING: ***½ Three=and=a=half=-Stars
Bite enjoys its World Premiere at the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal. For tix, times and venues, visit the Fest's website HERE.