Starring Elma Begovic, Jordan Gray, Annette Wozniak
Directed by Chad Archibald
After all this time, I was fairly resigned to think that Jeff Goldblum’s man-to-insect metamorphosis in Cronenberg’s The Fly was one of the queasiest body transformations I’d seen. However, after laying eyes upon Chad Archibald’s Bite, I’d have to say that Mr. Goldblum might have a run for his money.
Coming off of two lackluster directorial entries (The Drownsman, Ejecta), Archibald reloads and this time delivers heavily with his look at a nubile young woman whose bachelorette party/vacation proves to be a real itch… see what I did there? Anyway, the bride-to-be is Casey (Begovic), and she is whisked off to Costa Rica by some alcohol-deprived bridesmaids for a little R&R, and from the film’s opening scenes, I was immediately getting that sick feeling in my gut. Was it from some unrelenting gore splashed across the screen? No! It was from my true-to-life arch-nemesis: first-person camera usage (a la found footage). At this point, the urge to dropkick my laptop across the room overcame me, but with some patented Lamaze breathing techniques, I simmered down and let the movie play on.
Thankfully, the shaky-cam vision was merely a tool to illustrate the ignorance of one of Casey’s bridal party members – shoot as much footage of inebriated, uncoordinated chicks attempting to dance in a club, while being pawed by some douchenozzles that probably have the words “dude” and “bro” tattooed somewhere on their persons. Movin on – after Casey is roofied and raped by some sleazy club-goer, then robbed of her possessions (including her very impressive engagement rock), the group decides to go for a little dip in a remote quarry the next day, and that’s where our story gets very interesting. Never mind the fact that Casey was sexually assaulted and had her booty burgled (in more ways than one) – good friends don’t let you sulk over a traumatic crime, at least not when there’s the opportunity to wade in some murky, disease-infested water in a third-world swimmin’ hole!
While floating about in the scummy lagoon, Casey is bitten on the leg by some unexplained critter, and after the vacation has come to a close, she realizes that this isn’t any old nip on the stem – this thing is throbbing, growing in size, and leaking fluid faster than a cracked radiator… silly me, not fluid – PUS. Large, discolored quantities of pus – it trickles, it seeps, it collects on the floor – and during one romantic rendezvous in the sack with her momma’s boy of a fiancé (Gray) – it literally gushes all over her lover’s hand and ceases coital activity immediately. As if Casey’s fiancé needed any more cause to stay away from his future bride, his incredibly venomous mother (Lawrene Denkers in a fantastically evil role) seems to bristle at the sight of his forthcoming mate – this woman is plain nasty, right down to her two-ply panties.
As the film rolls along, whatever the hell is overtaking Casey’s body composition is working overtime, and every time the poor woman shifts her legs, she seems to gush a cascading, orange-tinted crystalline gathering of globules out of her… fish shack, if you will – it covers the walls of her apartment and the floor, turning her entire crash-pad into some kind of cocoon.
I’ll simply leave the rest of this ultra-hygienic antiseptic-fest to your viewing pleasure, as the utter grotesqueness must be seen to be truly enjoyed – imagine Goldblum melting faces in The Fly times 10. Archibald takes a somewhat slow route to the golden ticket in the first half of the film, but after Casey’s bite has had its chance to infest the bloodstream, that’s when we shift out of first gear and into a very slippery overdrive. Performances are routine for those attempting to nail down a typical drunk young adult or a molting insect-type lady.
In all seriousness, Bite definitely has the chops to be the Fly of the new age and simply shouldn’t be missed, especially if you’re a gorehound on the prowl. Chew on, brothers… chew on.