Spooky Movie Fest '15: "Bite" Review

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.

Rating: C-


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Kevin Sampson

The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. He is currently looking forward to filming his first feature film in the near future. He believes that film is one of the most powerful art forms in the world, and he hopes that he can use the craft to inspire others and make a difference in it.