This week Steve Johnson takes a look at Scream Factory’s recent release of “Bite.” This exceptional piece of body horror is directed by Chad Archibald and stars the spell-binding Elma Begovic.
Here’s a quick synopsis before we get sticky:
Your Fear Is Her Appetite. While on her bachelorette party getaway, bride-to be Casey (Elma Begovic) gets a seemingly harmless bite from an unknown insect. After returning home with cold feet, Casey tries to call off her wedding … but before she’s able to, she starts exhibiting insect-like traits. Brought to the breaking point by both her ongoing physical transformation and her wedding anxiety, Casey succumbs to her horrifying new instincts. As her metamorphosis becomes complete, the bugged bride and all who cross her path discover that everything can change with a single bite.
Directed by Chad Archibald, “Bite” is an altogether new breed of terror. A disturbing and intense film that caused an international sensation at top genre film festivals, this is a movie horror fans can really sink their teeth into.
REVIEW: Ah, it feels so good to get back to horror. This time around we are going to take a trip into the body horror subgenre. Body horror is something a lot of casual viewers and even hardened viewers of horror films struggle to get through. I guess the manipulation of the body strikes too close to home for some people. It doesn’t help that most of these films are disgusting and leave you wanting to get clean afterward. Films like “The Fly,” “Videodrome” and, more recently, “Contracted” and “The Human Centipede” are all shocking and are designed to leave a bad taste in your mouth … pun intended. “Bite” is the latest entry into the genre and it does not fail to bring the nasty.
“Bite” begins by following Casey (Elma Begovic) and her friends as they spend time celebrating her upcoming nuptials at an island paradise. While swimming in a secluded swimming hole, Casey receives what seems to be an innocent bug bite. I know what you are thinking … innocent my ass … you are correct. After returning, Casey’s bite becomes severely infected. I’m talking severely infected. If you have an aversion to pus and draining sores, you better sit this one out. From then on Casey slowly begins one of the most shocking transformations I have ever seen on film. It’s not on par with Jeff Goldblum’s transformation in “The Fly” but it’s damn close. Elma Begovic is fantastic in her portrayal of Casey. You can feel every bit of her struggle to maintain her humanity. Once what remains of Casey’s humanity begins to slip away, Begovic’s performance really kicks into overdrive. The surrounding cast also deliver damn fine performances.
“Bite” is one of the most disgustingly wonderful body horror films ever put to screen. It’s dirty, it’s gooey and it’s sticky. You can feel the gross dripping from the screen. I am not going to lie, I needed to take a shower immediately after watching this one. It’s just that kind of film. You will leave this one feeling filthy. To everyone involved in bringing this to the screen, thank you. We need more films like this.
The transfer of this film is fantastic. “Bite” pops off the screen in all of its putrid glory. Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and is adequate for an indie horror film. The highlight of the special features featured on the disc is a decent commentary track with director Chad Archibald and producers Cody Calahan and Christopher Giroux. Rounding out the special features are five small documentaries that include looks at the special effects for the film, life on the set and the film’s premiere. I found these special features to be a bit lacking for a Scream Factory release, but maybe I’ve just gotten spoiled by their releases over the years.
THE VERDICT: You need this if you are a fan of body horror. Stop everything you are doing and pick it up. To the remaining horror fans … it’s OK to blind buy this. I guarantee you will love it. If you aren’t a fan of dripping bodily fluids from a variety of orifices and sores, avoid “Bite” like the plague.
About The Writer
Steve Johnson, affectionately known as “The Harmony Bad Boy,” is one of the original staff writers for Icon Vs. Icon. When he’s not doing manly things, grilling encased meats, or downing copious amounts of craft beer, Steve spends his time exploring the world of horror. His obsession with the genre began by seeing ‘The Evil Dead’ and ‘An American Werewolf in London’ at an inappropriate age. Thanks mom and dad; you created this monster.