Bite (2015) [Fantasia Film Festival]



Casey and her two besties go on a bachelorette trip before she is supposed to get hitched to Jared in a short while. This trip is meant to be a last hoorah for Casey before she settles into the married life Jared and his mother have in mind for her. While on her trip, all seems fun but not all is at it seem. During an excursion, Casey gets bitten by an insect but it doesn’t affect her outside of the original bite and its lightly disagreeable side effects. That is until after she returns home and the bit starts to look infected and is painful. As her cold feet toward her marriage grow, so does the infection which eventually brings about changes in her body and her way of life. Soon Casey is cocooning in her apartment filled with translucent eggs and her urges to protect and feed her hive take over.

The bulk of the film is spent with Casey, played by Elma Begovic who does quite well with the material she is given. The basis of the movie and its development could easily have become cartoonish with another actress, she gives what is her first feature film performance and shows chops that would be expected of a much more experienced thespian. Begovic gives a sense of normality to how Casey is reacting to her changes and the process she is undergoing. She shows emotional range from worried to freaked out to acceptance to need for survival as her character‘s situation slowly turns from bad to worse. Her performance here is crucial as most of the film rests on her shoulders. She is the only lead, with all other characters only being there to serve her story.

The story by Chad Archibald and Jayme Laforest is well constructed and is effective in building up a claustrophobic feeling and a worry for Casey’s well-being. The direction by Chad Archibald follows this and brings the viewer into Casey’s new, ever-changing world where she is trying to survive. To support the cast, writing, and directing are the set designs and special effects which go and in hand here as Casey’s apartment becomes her hive, filled with gooey eggs for her to feed and protect. These effects, starting with the infected bite, are gross and very well done. The hive looks like it could hold someone and kill them, the eggs are reminiscent of salmon roe but in a different, more mucus-like color. The way Casey provides food or gets her good will make some uncomfortable, this film already has a reputation for making people faint and vomit, which this reviewer may be too jaded to see why or the affected people do not watch much horror at all. Nothing here is on par or even close to the levels of grossness shown in movies that have come before and will come out this year. There are some truly nasty scenes but for bug transformation fans, nothing here is on the level of Brundlefly pulling off body parts while becoming more fly than Seth.

The expected gross out factor may not be there as hyped, but the film is still quite good and entertaining. It builds a character the viewer can care about before her decent into bug hell. As opposed to a lot of other movies out there that are made just for the sake of grossing people out, Bite has other aspects that as the nasty stuff falls short still keep one’s attention on the story and makes for an entertaining film. It is most definitely worth a watch but gorehounds beware: it doesn’t shock as much as touted and it doesn’t reinvent the bug movie wheel.