If you’re a fan of gore, “Bite” has more than a mouthful. Director Chad Archibald has concocted a film that with all its slimy ugliness, is beautiful to look at. However, its story is about as shallow as an episode of the Kardashians.
Bachelorette Casey (Elma Begovic) goes to Costa Rica with her friends to celebrate before her wedding. While there, she’s bitten by a mysterious bug. Upon returning home, she gets cold feet and wants to call off the wedding. Before she can however, she starts exhibiting signs of a major infection, or something worse.
“Bite” makes an admirable attempt to mix found footage with straight narrative at the out start. While giving it’s viewer context to Casey’s trip to Costa Rica, it becomes distracting as Casey consults the footage on her laptop to retrace her steps in Costa Rica. Unfortunately, like many other plot points, even that vice quickly fizzles out and we’re left with watching Casey turn into a human bug through a thinly stitched storyline.
Where “Bite” falls short is that it soars in visual ideas, but lacks a plot. It’s not long before you abandon the idea of a genuine story and accept that you’re watching Casey transform into a bug. Characters make unrealistic decisions, ignoring blatantly obvious signs of abnormal behavior to move the story forward, quickly turning it into a film that you yell at rather than scream from.
The film’s secret weapon is its crew. Cinematographer Jeff Maher paints exquisitely with light in each frame. Jason Derushie’s special effects makeup is incredible. The bug bite looks disgustingly real, and the sound design supplements it so well. As Casey transforms, the makeup does too, heightening the intensity of the bizarre happening in her life. In fact, the makeup and set design become the star of the film. As days go by, Casey’s apartment is taken over by ooze, eggs, and a stench that I’m sure viewers will be happy they won’t have to smell. The aesthetics of the film sells every frame of it.
“Bite” certainly is an acquired taste. It may be great for true horror/gore fans. It’s been known to make some viewers faint and puke as it makes its’ festival rounds. Whether you enjoy it or not, it’s bound to sting in some way.