Casey get bitten by something while on vacation to a exotic place. Upon her return home the bite becomes worse and worse until it starts to transform her. Laying many tiny eggs Casey is now a deadly threat to anybody who tries to come between her and her spawn.
05/06/16 VOD & Limited Theatrical
Chad Archibald (story by), Jayme Laforest
Elma Begovic - Casey
Annette Wozniak - Jill
Jordan Gray - Jared
Lawrene Denkers - Mrs. Kennedy
Denise Yuen - Kristen
Black Fawn Films are a genre film production company on the rise. With the early successes of Antisocial and The Drownsman, these Canadian filmmakers have an ever expanding slate of projects. This company and the people who work with have making low-budget horror down to a science, able to create fun and interesting stories on very limited budgets. Their biggest release to date is the festival circuit sensation BITE. After a lot of post-production effects being required for The Drownsman Black Fawn wanted to create a film with as many on-screen practical effects as possible. The results are a gruesome, slimy and skin crawling body horror that wowed at festival screenings and caused audience members to vomit and even pass out. Now Bite is getting a limited theatrical run, VOD and a future release from the horror-centric Scream Factory imprint. So does Bite live up to the hype?
Casey (Elma Begovic – Save Yourself) is enjoying a trip away to an exotic location with her best friends to celebrate her last week of freedom before getting married. With Kirsten (Denise Yuen) and Jill (Annette Wozniak) in tow we watch video camera recording as they visit bars, dance and have a great time. A part of their adventure the trio are given directions to a out of the way spot where a cave contains warm, blue waters. Everything is fine until Casey feels something around her feet and she gets some sort of sting or bite right below her hip.
Casey returns home to her unusual living conditions. Her landlady is her future mother-in-law and her fiance Zach lives in the same building. It’s how they first met but the mother is overly protective of her son, clearly resenting Casey taking him away from her. With a week until the wedding Casey is berated by her future in-law about the lack of preparation she has made. Casey is beginning to get cold feet and not only does she have the spreading effect of the bug bite, other things happened on the trip including the loss of her engagement ring. As Casey continues to struggle with her personal life, her body is slowly changing, repurposing for a new function.
Bite is one seriously gooey little piece of body horror waiting to gross you out and make you squirm and itch in your seat. Casey’s transformation is obviously the centerpiece of the film and it’s gnarly. Her bug bite becomes a pus-oozing wound, lesions on her skin follow and she spends much of the rest of the movie being covered in a film of mucus-like slime. To bolster this effect her apartment too changes, it becomes darker and darker as more and more web-like material starts appearing dangling from the ceiling. Almost every surface becomes covered in these amber-colored eggs with tiny insects gestating inside them. So many eggs that they start spilling from tables and chairs onto the floor, Casey’s increasingly inhuman form watching over them as slime drips from her mouth. Then there are the grisly ends of her victims as she becomes unable to control her compulsion to protect those eggs.
Though gore and goo and slime is all good fun what can take body horror to another level is sympathy for the victim. This is something done tremendously well in movies like Cronenberg’s The Fly or Starry Eyes and here the human drama works in service to the horror. A big part of Bite is a woman trying to deal with depression. Important tasks are left undone, Casey cannot bare to see or talk to people, she wallows in her misery and this only makes it easier for the effect of the bite to take over her body. This is the reason that Casey does not immediately go running to the emergency room, she is dealing with a relationship she may want out of, her friends are not helpful and there is also the fear that she cannot remember everything that happened on her trip. Becoming increasingly depressed Casey withdraws further and further, not leaving the apartment and basically allowing the bite to run its course and take over without resistance. As Casey sees more of the video footage recording during her trip her guilt and fear only increases. Much like the events of the trip that she cannot remember Casey does not seem to be aware of what her own body is doing as the eggs start to appear and slime and filth begins to coat every surface of the apartment. Though she becomes violent as her transformation continues these are attempts at defense, keeping her friends from harm and from the compulsion to go to any lengths to protect her spawn. There is enough character work done here not just with Casey but also with the other people in her life including some relationship drama I genuinely gasped at when I saw it. It is a credit to the filmmakers that Bite never just becomes about a girl turning into a monster and killing everybody. Having said that some of these characters, in classic horror style, kinda have it coming.
Bite doesn’t have the gore of some other body horror classics but what it does have is genuine heart, thanks to a great central performance from Elma Begovic who holds the story together admirably. This could have so easily been a straight drama about a woman’s life falling apart but Chad Archibald and his co-conspirators at Black Fawn Films created a slickly made, oozing, puss-filled horror that you can almost smell. A definite crowd pleaser well worth watching with other be it friends or a cinema audience. Bring your bug spray!