Chastity Bites (DVD)
Directed by John V. Knowles
Distributed by Grand Entertainment Group, LLC
Chastity Bites is the blending of teenage sexual experimentation with a seemingly immortal serial killer who is over 500 years old. Interesting combination, right?
This is the story of two square-peg high school best friends, Leah and Katharine. Leah (Scagliotti) is an aspiring journalist looking for a big story, and Katharine (Raisa) is just looking for herself. They are constantly tormented by a group of "mean girls" whom they refer to as "The Hiltons" or "The Kardashians." Applicable names for sure. Suddenly thrown into the mix of this everyday high school caste system is new counselor Liz Batho (Griffiths).
Ms. Batho organizes the Virginity Action Group (V.A.G.) to help keep young ladies chaste and pure. Surprisingly, The Hiltons become the leaders of the group, but we find out soon that it's just because they think it might lead to a V.A.G. reality show on MTV. As things grow stranger around Batho, our sleuth Leah finds some similarities between her and famed Hungarian murderess from the late 16th-early 17th century, Elizabeth Bathory. Could the rumors of Bathory using the blood of virgins to retain her youth be true? Better find out soon, as the clock is ticking on the lives of the students of San Griento High.
Chastity Bites has one very strong positive going for it: the casting of Louise Griffiths as Liz Batho. Griffiths is statuesque and has a presence that is able to carry the weight of a character as large as the one she is playing. Griffiths easily steals every scene she is in. Her enticing red lips are nearly a character in and of themselves. She is the most effective and entertaining part of this film. And from the beginning it looks like the rest of the movie around her might be okay, too. Right off the bat you're pretty sure it's not going to blow you out of the water, but there is enough decent effects work to start off and some decent humor to go with the horror that for the first half of Chastity Bites, it appears you might have a decent film on your hands.
But as the movie rolls on, things start to get kinda cheesy but still tolerable. Then you come to that spot in the film where you have to make a decision. Is this movie any good, or am I just hanging in to see how it ends? And how it ends is what really kills Chastity Bites. Actresses who had been performing just fine in the beginning of the movie take on ridiculous character adaptations that don't work at all and are not funny or scary in the least. Nearly laughable performances. There is a fight scene that looks so horribly stiff that it, too, is very detrimental to the film. And there's more. In the final climactic scene it's like all the direction and quality control that went into Chastity Bites flew right out the window. A movie that, with a better ending, could have been halfway decent, took a horrible turn to barely watchable.
The lead actresses, mainly Griffiths but also Allison Scagliotti as Leah and Francia Raisa as Katharine, do a good job in their roles. Griffiths shines, but Scagliotti and Raisi are also more than serviceable as the dynamic duo of the film. And, as Ashley, the leader of the mean girls, Amy Okuda is sufficiently snotty. Chloe Crampton stands out as well, playing the hilariously diluted and ditsy Kelly, another of the mean girl group.
Chastity Bites plays with some really fun themes. How far will women go for beauty? How far will teens go for fame and thrills? And also how many virgins does it take to maintain beauty throughout the centuries? There are some fun moments in the movie, as the local mean girl moms get a taste of a beauty treatment that is beyond anything they've ever tried (and they've tried a lot!). Some of the F/X shots are quite good, and there is even a brief cameo by horror legend Stuart Gordon. All definitely great parts of the film.
Unfortunately the bad does outweigh the good here as the film, which is okay at best through the first half, completely falls apart in the finale in epic fashion. A better conclusion would have netted Chastity Bites a much better final grade as it did have potential, but an absolute disaster of an ending crushed this pic. Yes, Griffiths is fantastic; and Scagliotti, Raisa, and some of the other cast members keep the film moving. If this is enough for you, give Chastity Bites a try. If you're a more fussy horror connoisseur, however, steer clear.
2 out of 5